Author: Paul


Back in Belgium, it is warmer than St Petersburg, but still there is ice. At least the ducks can walk on it.


Many thanks to Yuri, who showed me the naval Cathedral of Kronstadt, which is a destination for pilgrims in memory of St John of Kronstadt.

There was a Eucharist service going on at the time.

Kronstadt is built on an island 30km West of St Petersburg, and is a naval base for the Baltic fleet. 

It was in involved in the Revolution, the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921, was bombed by the Luftwaffe, and even attached during the Crimean war.

There are names of naval personnel lost in battles back to the Crimean war on tablets around the wall. This is just a small part of them:

Despite the fact that we built defences in Sydney harbour against the Russians at the time of the Crimean war, there was no mention here of sailors lost in action in Sydney!!

Евгений Онегин

Last night I went to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, at the Mikhailovsky theatre, which is conveniently located near a park in the centre of town. I think the facade of the theatre is being renovated and was therefore covered, but the theatre itself give an idea of the magnificence in those non egalitarian days. A treasure.

And a fortifying snack was available during the intervals

 The performance itself was controversial and fairly new, by the Ukrainian Stage Director Andriy Zholdak.

The two ladies next to me did not like it, too eccentric an adaptation.

The staging was certainly entertaining, though I thought some of the symbolism of fate was a little heavy handed: all the stage and costumes were black and white, mostly white at the start, but black in the final act. Lots of spinning tops and bags of marbles. Also a fair bit of water and milk, which I didn’t understand.

I thought the biggest applause was for the good old fashioned bass solo at the start of the last act.

Still, I’m no expert. The words of the director and some video is at this link.