Monday, December 24, 2012

Finally, something to write about

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Museum of Modern Renaissance

I’ve been so busy with everyday life that I haven’t written any stories for my blog. After so long, I didn’t want to write about just anything, but we honestly didn’t do anything terribly interesting. Finally, that has changed.

We used to enjoy Russian-American cultural programs at the Museum of Modern Renaissance, but since we spend less time in Boston these days we haven’t managed to get to anything recently. When we got an invitation to their ten-year anniversary party, then, we knew we had to go. Remembering that they don’t have an elevated stage, we paid extra to get seats in the front row. We figured we wanted to support the museum anyway, and we enjoyed our unrestricted view. Occasionally we felt a little bit overwhelmed, however, when a lot of opera singers sang loudly all at once. They can be really loud.

We know the artistic director of last night’s program. In fact, he was the principal musician at our wedding a few years ago. He’s got many talents and a powerful sense of humor. Apparently he’s also got access to a lot of costumes. This all led him to concoct a ridiculous story upon which he stitched together a bunch of operatic arias, sometimes modified to suit his insane script. We’d seen some of these jokes as parts of previous programs, which seemed perfectly reasonable since they came back as part of the anniversary retrospective.

Speaking of insanity, the hall itself is highly idiosyncratic, as you can see in the slideshow above. A couple of artists, Kolya and Katya, bought a former Masonic Hall and converted it into a giant art project. They covered the entire interior with bright new-age imagery loosely after the style of a Russian Orthodox Church. Having decorated nearly every flat surface of the interior, they are now working on the fa├žade. Just entering the space, one is instantly prepared for something special. As I understand it, they wanted to create an environment where the best of Russian and American cultures could combine in search of something altogether new. Just coming inside always fills us with delight. It’s the only place we know of in Boston where we can count on high-quality home-grown entertainment.

After the show, everybody came downstairs for food, drink and conversation. Somebody brought a Kievsky torte from New York, which pleased us both. I had read a story about Kievsky tortes in language class a couple of years ago. The story made me understand that everybody wants to eat these things, and I have not yet been to Kiev. Last night, Kiev came to me, however, and it’s delicious. It fully counter-balanced the mystery-meat bologna which I did not realize was even available in the States.

One of last night’s performers will be a soloist at a major concert in Verdi’s honor in Jordan Hall on January 24. If I still have any readers left, particularly any in Boston, you probably ought to check it out. I hear it’s going to be really good.

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