To Pushkin House in Bloomsbury Square to hear Marina Frolova-Walker’s lecture at the launch of her book on Russian Music & Nationalism from Glinka to Stalin, which I’ve already plugged three times (1, 2, 3) but it is fantastic, and so is she. One of the most entertaining lecturers I’ve ever had the joy to listen to: erudite, funny, fascinating, enlightening, down-to-earth, and a terrific communicator who works completely without notes, and is completely engaging. She also has excellent audio-visual stuff with fully functioning technology. Tonight, that included a clip from a Kompozitor Glinka, a Stalin-period film which illustrated perfectly… oh you have to read the book.
Hibla Gerzmava, fresh from last night’s Tatiana in Evgenii Onegin at the ROH, made a surprise appearance to do three brief songs by Glinka & Rimsky-Korsakov, beautifully as it turned out. And all this for free. Then there were questions – all terribly expert & erudite, except they all began ‘I’m afraid I haven’t read your book yet…’ I was dying to put my hand up and say proudly ‘Now, I have read your book…’ but it was too late, there was only room for one more question.
I went there on my brand new bike, which got me back from Bloomsbury to Tooting in 35 minutes. Now I think that to be able to leave work at 6.30 in Battersea, go to a book launch in Bloomsbury, and be back home by 9.15 is little short of miraculous.