Postcard from Moscow
Picture Moscow and you'll almost certainly see an image of St Basil's Cathedral with its brightly coloured onion domes towering over Red Square. The Kremlin has played host to plenty of political drama over the centuries, some – like 'Boris Godunov' – depicted in music.Read more…
Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov' is one of Russia's great operas, depicting the travails of the 17th-century tsar. The Coronation Scene – set in Red Square – has Boris delivering a brief monologue followed by choral rejoicing "Slava!" The Russian capital also features in Mussorgsky’s political saga 'Khovanshchina', the prelude depicting Dawn over the Moscow River. Glazunov's symphonic pictures "The Kremlin" depicts pomp and grandeur, but the middle section "In the cloister" is more meditative.
For a jaunty spin around Moscow, enjoy the suite from Shostakovich's operetta 'Cheryomushki', a Moscow district full of cheap housing.
The Bolshoi Theatre – literally "big" theatre – has played the premieres of important operas and ballets. 'Don Quixote', 'The Red Poppy' and Rodion Shchedrin's take on 'Carmen' were first danced at the Bolshoi, along with such operas as 'Mazeppa', 'Aleko' and Rimsky-Korsakov’s political satire 'The Golden Cockerel'. Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony was premiered in Moscow, as was Shostakovich's Fourth – hidden in the composer's bottom drawer for decades until after Stalin’s death. Shostakovich's final symphonic utterance – the 15th, with its enigmatic toyshop percussion – was also given its first performance in Moscow, conducted by the composer's son, in 1972.