Select a Date

August 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Postcards from Russia

To travel to 15 cities inside Russia is a once in a lifetime experience. Northwestern University Prof. Irwin Weil, NU students Matthew Honegger, Bridget Rodino, Keryn Wouden and Zackery Ellis, and WFMT radio producer Cydne Gillard had this unique opportunity thanks to the generous support of the Mariinsky Foundation of America. We traveled to Russia to collect audio material for our WFMT radio series Russian Culture, Literature and Music.

In St. Petersburg we joined the celebrations for the opening of the Mariinsky ll, Russia's new 850,000 square foot epicenter of culture, then boarded the Easter Festival train tour through Central European Russia with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Maestro Valery Gergiev. For ten days we rode the rails from city to city, sometimes with two and three stops a day. In each city, the Mariinsky Orchestra and Maestro Gergiev would go the the concert hall to rehearse, meet the city's people, and prepare for the concert while we toured their city. Maestro Gergiev said we have seen sights that he himself has yet to see – historical places like Leo Tolstoy's Yasnaya Polyane (Bright Glade).

For this radio series, a collaboration of WFMT, Northwestern University and the Mariinsky Foundation of America, hours of audio have been collected which form the material for our blog and radio series. Our 13-week, one-hour radio series Russian Culture, Literature and Music will air January – March of 2014. In March of that year, the Northwestern University Slavic Department will host a conference on the series.

Thanks to Chris Minev, President and Executive Director of the Mariinsky Foundation of America, President Morton Shapiro of Northwestern University, and Steve Robinson, General Manager of WFMT for their support during this creative process.

Special thanks to Maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra for inviting us to tag along. You are GREAT!!

Recent Posts

Postcards from Russia – The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Sasha Waltz

The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Sasha Waltz

Seeing and hearing Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du printemps, The Rite of Spring, at the Mariinsky II with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra was a once in a lifetime experience. In celebration of the centennial of the piece, choreographer Sasha Waltz created a new, modern production

more...

Postcards from Russia – Russian-American Students

Prof. Marina Kaul and Prof. Irwin Weil from the Russian American Academic Center of the Russian State University for the Humanities

Students at RSUH in Moscow

In 2004, Northwestern University Professor Emeritus Irwin Weil, and Marina Kaul of the Russian State University for the Humanities, saw a dream come true: the founding of an American Studies program at the university in Moscow. Professor Weil, who has devoted much of his career to promoting cultural exchange

more...

Postcards from Russia – History of Russian Opera in Costumes [GALLERY]

Boris Godunov from the
Opera by Modest Mussorgsky

One of the most memorable exhibits we saw on our trip was inside the Mariinsky II. Throughout the new theater, original and revival costumes from famous opera and ballet performances were displayed from the Mariinsky Theatre Archives. It was a beautiful way to celebrate their colorful and dramatic history. Click more to keep reading and see the gallery of images.

more...

Postcards from Russia – Bolero by Ravel, choreography by Maurice Béjart

Diana Vishneva of the Mariinsky Ballet in Maurice Béjart’s Bolero  at Mariinsky Theatre ll St.Petersburg. Photo credit: Valentin Baranovsky

Diana Vishneva of the Mariinsky Ballet in Maurice Béjart’s Bolero at Mariinsky Theatre ll St.Petersburg. Photo credit: Valentin Baranovsky

Prima Ballerina, Maya Plitseskaya was watching from the back box while Diana Vishneva danced this role in one of the opening concerts of the Mariinsky ll.

more...

Postcards from Russia – Farewell to Matt! – Part 11

Matt Honegger, Northwestern University, Class of 2014, with Maestro Gergiev in Moscow, Russia

Matt Honegger, Northwestern University, Class of 2014, with Maestro Gergiev in Moscow, Russia

When my fellow Northwestern University students, Keryn, Zack, and I (Bridget Rodino) arrived in Moscow, we were greeted by some familiar faces, which included Cydne, Matt, Professor Weil, and his wife, Vivian Weil. Alas, Matt Honegger’s trip was nearing its end. I had never been out of the United States, so Matt had a lot of great suggestions and advice.

more...

Postcards from Russia-Moscow Maze – Part 10

A Main Street in Moscow, Boardering Red Square

Tchaikovsky

We had a few hours before the concert to walk around Moscow and Red Square which was only a few blocks away from our hotel. As we began walking, we realized that many of the streets were closed for the holidays. The streets in Moscow are so wide, 8-10 lanes, that you have to go

more...

Postcards from Russian – Khristos voskrese! – Part 9

Kazan Cathedral, Moscow

Kazan Cathedral, Moscow

Khristos voskrese! This is the Orthodox Easter greeting (it means “Christ is Risen!”). We arrived in Moscow on Easter morning, after spending our first night on the Moscow Easter Festival Train. Just from our hotel window, we could count some thirteen churches dotting the city’s skyline – and the town reverberated with the sounds of

more...

Postcards from Russia – An American Orthodox Celebration – Part 8

St. Tikhon's in South Canaan, PA

St. Tikhon's in South Canaan, PA

Пасха – Orthodox Easter As I, Zack Ellis, prepared to pack my bags to travel with the Mariinsky Orchestra, I learned a lesson about the serendipity of life. In a small hamlet 4,500 miles from Moscow, a monastery called St. Tikhon’s keeps Russian Orthodox traditions alive in Pennsylvania. On May 5, I had the pleasure

more...

Postcards from Russia – The Mariinsky Train Experience – Part 7

Borscht

Borscht

Привет! I’m Bridget Rodino, a music student at Northwestern University, traveling on the Easter Festival Train with WFMT’s Cydne Gillard, and a group of people from Chicago. Being on the Mariinsky Orchestra’s Easter Festival Train is a special experience. We all have compartments next to one another, just two cars behind Maestro Gergiev himself. Two

more...

Postcards from Russia – Contrasts of the Countryside – Part 6

Nina, our stewardess

Welcoming us to the Easter Festival Tour train, our stewardess, Nina, sweetly tells us everything in Russian. We listen and obey. Often we are visiting two or three cities a day with a concert in every city: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Smolensk, Bryansk, Belgorod, Kursk, Oryol, Tula, Kaluga, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Vologda, Cherepovets. As we

more...