The Jubilee Charity Ball of the Eurolog UK Association and The London School of Russian Language and Literature was held on Saturday, 1 July 2017 in the historic and prestigious Draper’s Hall in the City of London. The ball was dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the first school of its kind in the United Kingdom, and one of the first in the world.
The Palace’s antique rooms, erstwhile meeting places for the most affluent industrialists in the country, provided the setting for a gathering of the Anglo-Russian society, consisting of famous persons, musicians, artists, actors, businessmen and, of course, the School’s teachers and parents. The foyer housed an exhibition of the works of the talented young artist Philip Firsov.
The ball’s invited distinguished guests included: Archbishop Elisey Surozhsky, Deputy Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea Gerard Hargreaves, royal portrait artist Sergey Pavlenko, popular Russian actress Regina Myannik, People’s Artist of Russia Elena Shcherbakova – Artistic Director of the world-famous Igor Moiseyev Ballet group, and others.
Participating in the ball were star performers, worthy of the finest stages in the world: members of the Igor Moiseyev Ballet, solo artist of the “Novaya Opera” in Moscow Evgeniy Kungurov, mime actor Igor Lamba, and tenor from Saint Petersburg Evgeniy Yuzhin, accompanied by his wife, the singer Yulia Snezhina.
The concert was opened by Christopher Arkhill’s Ballet Russe overture, performed by the magnificent British Imperial Orchestra and directed by Doctor Graham Jones. This was followed by a performance by Maria Veretenina, winner of the International Russian Song Festival Grand Prix, who sang Olympia’s Doll’s Aria from the opera by Jacques Offenbach. The first part of the concert was introduced by star host of the Russian Culture TV channel, Evgeniy Kungurov, and the charming singer Yulia Snezhina. Performances included Giuditta’s Aria by Franz Lehár, performed by Irina Tutt, and Musetta’s Aria by Giacomo Puccini, sung by Olga Adamovich, both of whom were accompanied by pianist and tutor Victoria Savelyeva. All three are also winners of the 8th Russian Song Festival in London. Evgeniy Kungurov gave a truly passionate performance of the famous Couplets of the Toreador from the opera Carmen. The first part was concluded by a solemn dedication to the members of the Alexandrov Choir and their Director Valery Khalilov. The Russian tune Farewell to Slavianka, a favourite of the Director and his orchestra, was played in their honour. The audience rose to pay their respects.
This was followed by a meal fit for a king, with a sumptuous menu – foie gras and trout with a crab garnishing. The company Lots4Charity held a “silent auction” during the meal, while guests and performers had their portrait drawn by caricature artist Georgiy Labunin.
In the second part, which was introduced in English by actor and model Tommy Viles, arias by Lehár and Tchaikovsky were performed by tenor Alexander Naumenko. Soprano Maria Veretenina sang Alexander Alyabyev’s The Nightingale in her enchanting voice. She was followed by the passionate deep baritone of Evgeniy Kungurov, who treated the audience to the beautiful Russian song by Boris Fomin Only Once In A Lifetime. Evgeniy Yuzhin and Yulia Snezhina then sang an affectionate duet by Charles Aznavour Eternal Love (the Russian version of the French classic Une Vie d’Amour). Then came solo performances of particularly beautiful Italian songs, Lucio Dalla’s In Memory of Caruso and Tell Me Girls by Rodolfo Falvo, while the “cherry on the cake” was the joyful song Funiculì, funiculà by Luigi Denza. Evgeniy Yuzhin held the entire audience spell-bound! It was as if the English kings, looking down from their portraits, were also enjoying his singing! There’s a reason why Evgeniy is often referred to as “the voice that captures hearts”!
After the meal members of the Igor Moiseyev Ballet group, Evgeniy Chernyshkov, Andrey Artamonov and Alexander Tikhonov performed the explosive Argentinian dance Gaucho, while Anastasia Sorokina and Kiril Kochubey danced a passionate Argentinian tango. “No one dances like the Moiseyev dancers!” – almost all of them are, after all, Distinguished Artists of Russia! Their elegance of movement, harmonious rhythm and artistry were of an extremely high standard. Igor Lamba then performed an amazing pantomime piece The Hunt.
Finally, the time came for the waltz, the crowning moment of the evening! The magnificent Imperial Orchestra once again took their places and, at the wave of Director Graham Jones’s stick, the favourite tunes by Strauss played out. At last, the guests were able to put into practice all that they had learned in their ballroom dance lessons. They were helped along by the marvellous dance master of the Imperial Ball, Stuart Marsden. As the couples whirled and danced, their reflections were caught in the huge mirrors of the old Palace.
A luxurious, richly decorated cake by Mary-Sony Ltd. provided the finishing touches to a magnificent festivity!
The guests departed, taking with them fond memories of this unforgettable evening in their hearts!
The London School of Russian Language and Literature and the Eurolog UK Association would like to thank their distinguished guests, colleagues, volunteers and partners: Helen Bubnova, Anglia Newspaper, Kartina TV, Matryoshka Radio, Rossotrudnichestvo, The Embassy of the Russian Federation, Pushkin House, Profile Russia, Ikon Magazine, Mery-Sony Ltd., Love in Chocolate, and everyone who came to the Jubilee Charity Ball.