London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama joins forces with State Saint Petersburg Museum for Theatre and Music,  Mariinsky Opera, and State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music – in celebration of the song. This project is part of the Year of Music Russia-UK, and is curated by Dr Lidia Ader (Russia) and Dr Maria Razumovskaya (UK).

Voice of Nations

The project began in autumn 2019 when five Masters students at the Guildhall School started exploring songs that embody the fusion of Russian and British words and music. Much-loved classics, such as Benjamin Britten’s ‘Poet’s Echo’ set to Alexander Pushkin, and romances by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky and Miliy Balakirev set to Lord Byron and Percival Shelley. Guided by Dr Maria Razumovskaya the students dedicated their time and enthusiasm to engage in intense sessions looking at how nuances of the Russian language and the two nation’s cultural history, come together to form a distinct sound-world of Russian romance.

In February 2020 the project moves from London to Saint Petersburg – spiritual heartland of Russian romance. For UK students this will be the first visit to Russia. Here they will take part in masterclasses with Mariinsky Opera soloists, and perform in the apartment of Rimsky-Korsakov. The programme of the few days includes chamber music and Russian song performances as well as international conference on “British-Russian Crossroads: words and music”.

The project is supported by British Council and British Embassy in Moscow and the Cross-Language Dynamics project through AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative. The visit of Guildhall School students to Saint Petersburg is indebted to the generosity of Professor Sir Barry Ife CBE and Dr Trudi Darby.

Events in Russia:

12 February 2020, 7pm: Maria Razumovskaya: solo piano recital at Skraybin Museum, Moscow  

14 February 2020:

  • Vocal masterclasses for Guildhall School students led by Mariinsky Opera soloists – at Rimsky-Korsakov Museum (by invitation only)
  • Theatre Museum, 7pm.“Voices of Nation”, a chamber music concert of works influenced by the Russian and British cultures. The programme includes vocal cycles of British composers Benjamin Britten and Philip Grange, and Russian song performed by Mariinsky soloist Olga Trifonova accompanied by Maria Razumovskaya. Book your tickets here.

15 February 2020:

  • 10.30 – 18.00.Rimsky-Korsakov Museum, International conference “British-Russian Crossroads: words and music” [intellectual history and performance aesthetics]. FREE entry.
  • 7pm, Theatre Museum, Vocal concert by students of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, with guest performances by Mariinsky soloist Andrei Slavniy accompanied by Maria Razumovskaya. This concert will focus exclusively on Russian song inspired by British text, and British song inspired by Russian text. Book your tickets here.

16 February 2020, 5pm:

6pm, Sheremetyev Palace, Concert of Russian romance by Mariinsky Opera soloists – Ekaterina Shimanovich and Natalia Estafyeva – accompanied by Iain Burnside and Maria Razumovskaya. The programme includes romances by Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich, Rachmaninov and Medtner. Book your tickets here.

UK events:

10 March 2020, 14.00 – 17.00: Masterclass in Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Iain Burnside

10 March 2020, 18.00: Songs at Six: Russian Song – concert of Russian-British song in Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music & Drama