This Weekend in St. Petersburg: February 9-10
Beat the winter blues with this weekend’s events, starring a jazz night, a screening of a dazzling opera ball, a weighty sculpture exhibition, and a rational-consumption fair!
Love Is… Jazz
One might argue that love is a bundle of hollow, hormone-caused emotions, but the organizers of Love Is… Jazz came up with a bold new opinion. This is a fancy soiree event celebrating jazz music, performed by St. Petersburg vocalist Anastasia Radion and her American born-and-bred counterpart David Post to a treacle-like accompaniment of a jazz quartet led by a famous sax player and bandmaster at the Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra Kirill Bubyakin.
The venue is the panoramic concert hall of the “modestly chic” (says the press release, also promising each guest a free glass of champagne, aww would you look at that) Hotel Ambassador.
Standard tickets cost 1,200 rubles, and you’re in for 2,000 rubles if you want to sit closer to the stage. The event starts at 7pm (but it’s better to come in at 6.30pm or even earlier to get a better place) on February 9.
Screening of the annual Semper Opera Ball
But the latter event pales in comparison with what the Lenfilm cinema center has to offer, also on February 9, also starting at 7pm, also with the implication that you need to be there at 6pm at the very least. (Do I sniff some competition going on?)
Plugged as “the biggest classical entertainment event in German-speaking Europe” (read: take that, Austria), the Dresden Semper Opera Ball is something that makes any self-respecting socialite’s heart beat louder than the ticking of their diamond-laden Rolex (or is it that posh watches are silent-running? I wouldn’t know, sorry for bad PR that would certainly kick you off the market, Rolex). It’s annual too (with this year's ball being the 14th installment in the series), just to annoy us plebs year in year out.
But the music’s great (this year ball’s stars including the virtuoso Italian direttore Massimo Zanetti, breathtaking Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze, famous Spanish Verdi and Puccini enthusiast and tenor José Carreras, and many others), making the “2,500 guests dancing in the finest gowns until the early hours of the morning” part tolerable. You’ll also be glad to know that the 2019 ball was attended by the Prince of Monaco Albert II, French actor Alain Delon, and Russian national football team’s trainer Stanislav ‘Moustache of Hope’ Cherchesov. What a treat.
Tickets to the screening start at 300 rubles, also including free bubbly, no doubt to keep the inverted snobs’ feelings dumbed down. As an additional perk, Hans-Joachim Frey, the ball’s director, will pop round to join the fun.
Temporary Art, an exhibition of icy art-objects
Let’s throw in a sculpture event for diversity’s sake, shall we. Ready to have your mind blown, your faith in classical physics called in question, your hatred of ice (which you should have developed by now, living in St. Petersburg and everything), melted? That’s a champion. Swing by the Temporary Art exhibition in the courtyard of the State Museum of Urban Sculpture’s New Exhibition Hall to endure all this and more.
Bringing some positivity to our wintry land, the exhibition aims to show ice carvings as a composite art form that wedges itself at the intersection of spatial and temporal arts. ‘Cause they’ll thaw away like the Wicked Witch of the West sooner or later, won’t they, leaving us gazing at a nasty-looking puddle and pondering the meaning of life. But now they’re in the best form of their lives, all glittering and artsy and combining Russia’s rich monumental sculpture tradition with an innovative reading of material.
Running through the exhibition is the idea of fragility of the environment, though the organizers say that behind the carefully carved “joint creations by nature and humans” lies the message of “the possibility of harmony” between us and the mother earth. Is that deep or what.
Tickets are a mere 50 rubles for students and 200 rubles for everyone else. The museum is open from midday to 7pm every day except for Thursdays and Fridays.
But enough with the highbrow stuff. In a pinch for a new vintage brooch but don’t want to engage in mindless consumerism? This is a very common problem, and one that the organizers of Garage Sale, which is like a carboot sale but the sellers are mostly hipsters and it’s hosted in the center of design and architecture Artplay, aim to address.
Apart from family hand-me-downs and DIY’d trinkets, there will also be a special area with discounted creations by St. Petersburg designers, so you can do the noble deed of boosting local economy while you’re at it, as well as eat food, and lots of it. Admission is free, Garage Sale runs on February 9-10 from midday to 8pm.
Have a nice weekend!