I signed up for Planet Fitness (or Планета Фитнес) near my apartment as a preemptive measure against seasonal winter blues…the days are getting shorter! Also, I want to eat as many pirogi as I want.
I like to attend fitness classes and work out in a group. The trainers here come into class, don’t introduce themselves, and get right to work. They always play American music, so if I close my eyes it almost feels like I am back home in the USA….if it weren’t for the trainer yelling at me in Russian, of course:
Trainer: “LUNGES!! 25 MORE!!”
Trainer: “YOU! OVER THERE! GO LOWER! SLOWER!”
Me: *pretends not to understand Russian*
I performed in Tchaikovsky’s opera “Iolanta” this weekend in the conservatory’s Theater of Opera and Ballet:
Iolanta is the story of a young princess who was blind from birth, but had this kept from her for her entire life. Her father the king ordered everyone to never let her know about her misfortune: she did not know about sight, colors, light… Iolanta, feeling that she was missing something in her life, thought that her eyes existed only to cry. To make a long story short, a noble knight encounters Iolanta, spoils the secret by telling her about sight, and ignites in her the desire to see. She is cured by a doctor, marries her knight, and everyone rejoices. Yay, happily ever after!
I played Brigitta, Iolanta’s friend/lady-in-waiting:
To be involved in the shows here, you have to learn the part on your own (you can get coachings with the opera staff) and then show up to the first rehearsal memorized. There can be several people going for the same role, and we all take turns singing musical rehearsals and running staging sessions.
During this process, it’s all very vague as to who will actually be singing in the performance…in fact, I didn’t know I was going to perform until two days before the show, when I saw my wig/makeup call for the orchestra dress rehearsal!
Here is a press release advertising the performance:
Such an awesome experience! I don’t have a picture from our actual performance, but here is a picture from a previous run of the same production, so you can see the other costumes:
I enjoyed seeing Verdi’s “Otello” in Mariinsky II, the latest addition to the Mariinsky theater venues. It was opened last year, and has amazing acoustics and very unique architectural design:
I can’t possibly have a blog post without mentioning food, so here is the mid-opera snack my friend Daria and I had after act II of Otello:
The story is so long and tragic, it definitely warranted some emotional eating to alleviate the sadness. Spoiler: everyone dies.
Some more shots inside Mariinsky II:
The original Mariinsky Theater is also gorgeous, and I can just feel all of the history when I walk in…many composers had their works premiered here, including Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov:
ST. PETERSBURG SUBWAY (not the restaurant)
I don’t have to commute to the conservatory, since I am lucky enough to live ten minutes away on foot. However, I still use the subway to get around, and it is quite an experience. The metro is located very deep underground because St. Petersburg was built on marshland and required a lot of digging to get it on solid ground. This results in very loooooong escalator rides:
Some of the stations are very elaborate and beautiful, like Avtovo Station:
(Nerd alert: Avtovo station reminds me of Moria, the dwarf kingdom from Lord of the Rings. ^_^)