We were met in Moscow by the wonderful Helen, who sent us to our hostel, showed us around the city and organised-and even sang in-our concert there. After a minor mix up with the hostel (they hadn’t taken our booking seriously and had double booked the rooms so had to squeeze us into any available space) we settled in, enjoyed the balmy evenings, the Kremlin, Red Square, and St Basil’s basilica nearby. We loved the fact that we were just up the road from the Moscow Conservatoire, so could nod our heads seriously as we crossed paths with other young people carrying instruments, or we could wander out our door and hear Liszt wafting out onto the street from open second story windows.
Moscow seemed to be a city that balances grit with romance. We sang in a small church with stunning acoustics, hundreds of years old with a beautiful garden outside. Tchaikovsky used to attend services there. But we were told by the priest to be particularly careful in the church because if we damaged anything he would be held responsible and likely sent to jail. His phone is tapped and he has to work with 18 committees who control his house and the church. We watched people casually sitting around the public sculpture, enjoying the beautiful weather, then passed a policeman on a street corner holding a baton ready in his hand. (While we walked by he pulled over a woman for running a red light.)
Our concert went well. It was so nice to be singing beautiful music in a good acoustic again! Not a large audience, but the Australian ambassador was there, so she makes up for a few! We finished the concert by moving into the little garden outside the church and singing a few of our easy fun songs. A wonderful casual and fun filled thing to do. I love the long evenings that they have here. That warm dusk, where the sun feels as though it is setting but there is still a little more of the day left. To loiter in gardens, talk, laugh and have a drink. Of course it is terribly deceptive because then suddenly it is midnight and its still not dark! I do miss having darkness to sleep in.