Snow adds element of Russia


Vivat! St. Petersburg - Baltimore's three-week celebration of all things Russian - is turning out a bit more authentic than planned. The weather front that dumped 26 inches of snow on the Baltimore area resulted in the cancellation of a smattering of arts events early this week.

"We got a little more of St. Petersburg in Baltimore than we were counting on," Joan Davidson, executive director of the three-week festival, said ruefully.

If the snowstorm's great casualty for the arts was the B&O; Railroad Museum - the roof on the 119-year-old roundhouse collapsed - its great blessing was that the brunt of the blizzard held off until Sunday.

Had the snow started falling Friday night, as predicted, it could have resulted in the whiteout of the first weekend of the festival. Instead, only a handful of events scheduled for Sunday were postponed or called off.

There were no events scheduled for Presidents Day; because museums and performance halls are open on weekends, they typically are shuttered on Mondays and Tuesdays.

"I feel so fortunate that the worst of the storm didn't strike until Sunday," Davidson said. "Out of 107 different events, only a few had to be rescheduled or canceled."

Hardy part-time residents and visitors who made it to Baltimore occasionally found it difficult to leave. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Yuri Temirkanov was scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh to preside last night over a gala honoring that orchestra's music director, Mariss Jansons, only to have his plans endangered by large-scale flight cancellations.

Temirkanov finally left Baltimore at 7 a.m. yesterday by car - arriving a scant four hours before the event was to begin.

And two museum officials from St. Petersburg got a taste of winter Baltimore-style during a trip to the Walters Art Museum in connection with an exhibit planned there for 2004.

Museum director Gary Vikan was driving his guests, Nikolai Grinev and Irina Solovieva, to his home for Sunday dinner when they came upon a car stuck in the snow on Mount Royal Avenue. After the two men pushed the grateful driver out, Vikan said to Grinev: "This is just like Russia."

"Oh, no," Grinev replied. "It's much worse."

The following is a partial list of Vivat! events that have been canceled or postponed:

Those with tickets to the BSO's Sunday afternoon concert, which was canceled, can exchange them for any other BSO concert this season, including the remaining six scheduled as part of Vivat! Call 410-783-8000.

Sunday's canceled performance of the Opera Viviente program "From Russia With Love" has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at Evergreen House. Call 410-547-7997.

Ticket-holders for Sunday's performance of Rose, a staged reading at Everyman Theatre by actress Vivienne Shub, was canceled. The box office will contact ticket-holders to refund or exchange the tickets. The show continues this weekend. Call 410-752-2208.

A lecture Sunday at the Walters by Sergei Khrushev, son of former Soviet premier Nikolai Khrushev, has been canceled and will not be rescheduled. In addition, the museum was closed yesterday. Those with tickets for two exhibits: The Faberge Menagerie and The Origins of the Russian Avant-Garde should call 410-547-9000, Ext. 281 for exchanges or refunds.

A brunch with James F. Collins, Maryland resident and former U.S. ambassador to Russia at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, was canceled. The museum is trying to reschedule the event. Call 410-727-4808, ext. 133 for further information.

Loyola College professor Cheri Wilson was unable to deliver her scheduled lecture Sunday on the "Sights and Sounds of St. Petersburg: A Multimedia Odyssey." The lecture is to be rescheduled, but the date and time have not yet been set. Call 410-617-2017.

A multimedia production of Swan Lake at Theatre Project scheduled for last night and tonight has been scratched for nonweather-related reasons, after one of the six Russian performers was unable to obtain her visa. The run is expected to be rescheduled for the 2003-2004 season. Call 410-539-3091.

A lecture on "The Russian Connection" scheduled for tomorrow at the B&O; Railroad Museum was canceled after the roof collapse and will not be rescheduled.

Lecture postponed

Tonight's lecture by Coretta Scott King, part of the Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series, has been postponed. The lecture, to be held at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, will be rescheduled (no date has been set). The rest of the series will continue as planned. For further information, call the Meyerhoff box office at 410-783-8000.

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