Moscow Day 2 - September 29, 2006

After another fine breakfast we were off in the bus at 9:30 to visit the Bolshoi New Stage Theater. We stopped at Theater Square at the statue of Karl Marx. The square has the old Bolshoi (now under restoration), the Maly Theater (drama) and a youth theater. Now it also has the New Stage for the Bolshoi. We went there and went backstage for a view of the seating. It is smaller than the Bolshoi (900 vs 2000 seats) but quite elegant. We had a lecture by the Bolshoi director of public relations, who was attractive and more cosmopolitan than many of our other lecturers. It was an interesting account of The Bolshoi Theater Today."

After the lecture we walked together up to Red Square. After a guided walk around we had free time and went off the explore St. Basil's Cathedral in some detail. We photographed it from all angles and then went inside. This is a museum now and had many interesting displays. Barbara went up the spiral staircase to see the Iconostasis while I stayed below.

After that we walked over to Varvarka Street to see St. Barbara's Church and the Old English Inn. The latter dates from the time of Ivan the Terrible and was used by English merchants. At that point we had to hurry to get something to eat. We went to the GUM department store which is quite attractive but similar to malls everywhere. Even the food, provided food court fashion, was very much international fast food. Then we went back to meet the group and get on the bus for the trip back to the hotel. A brief rest and then we were off at 4:30 for an early dinner at the Version Restaurant. This was in a long narrow private room with changing images projected on the walls.

After that we went to a small concert hall, called Prechistinka 32 for a chamber music concert. It was very good, featuring a violinist and a cellist who first performed three works by Ravel, Paganinin, and Handel. Then, after a brief intermission, the violinist traded his violin for an accordion and they did one of the Bach Sonatas for Cello and Piano! Amazingly it was quite successful! After that they did some modern jazz and concluded with one of Yo Yo Ma's things. Both musicians were excellent. They had spent some time in the United States.

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