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An Evening of Poetry and Music marking Marina Tsvetaeva’s 130th anniversary

Saturday 8 October, 2022, 18:30 - 21:00

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) (image source: https://stihirus24.ru/images/mtsvetaeva.jpg)


The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CamRuSS) is delighted to bring you an evening of poetry and music marking Marina Tsvetaeva’s 130th anniversary with the readings of poems and excerpts from the works of Tsvetaeva by Maria Blatstein, Lena Knight,  Vlada Lemeshevska and Dmitry Turchaninov of the London Russian-language Xameleon Theatre, followed by the outstanding programme of music presented by pianist Elena Toponogova in collaboration with violinist Alice Ruffle and pianist Peter Hewitt. 

This is a fundraising event in support of our collective plea for peace. Part of the proceeds will go to CamRuSS for Ukraine Hardship Fund.

“As one of the most significant poets of the early twentieth century, Tsvetaeva in her creative formation and development embodied those laws of literary and historical processes which were characteristic of the literary epoch. The time when she began writing poems coincided with the emergence of acmeism and mainstreaming its talented representatives – Gumilev, Akhmatova, Mandelstam…” — Gaisin, R. & Bykov, A. (2016). Acmeism in Tsvetaeva’s works is explored by Oleg Kling in his article Путь в Будущее (1908-1921): мимо литературы/Path to the Future (1908-1921): Bypassing Literature and by Alexandra Smith in Surpassing Acmeism? The Lost Key to Cvetaeva’s ‘Poem of the Air’.

The evening’s programme:

Elena Toponogova (piano)

Frederik Chopin Nocturnes op.27 no 2 in D flat major
Frederik Chopin Etude op.10 no 9 in F minor
Sergey Rachmaninov Etude-tableaux op.39 no 2
Sergey Rachmaninov Etude-tableaux op.39 no 5
Sergey Rachmaninov Musical moments op.16 in B minor
Sergey Rachmaninov Musical moments op.16 in D flat major
Nikolai Medtner Fairytale in F minor op.26 no 3
Nikolai Medtner Sonata-Reminiscenza op.38


Xameleon Theatre – Maria Blatstein, Lena Knight and Vlada Lemeshevska

Poetry reading – the performance will feature works from different periods of Marina Tsvetaeva’s career, including excerpts from the musical and poetic performance “Insomnia” directed by Dmitry Turchaninov with a piano accompaniment by Maria Blatstein.

Alice Ruffle (violin) & Peter Hewitt (piano)

Igor Stravinsky Suite Italienne

Dmitry Turchaninov

Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems translated by B. Pasternak and M. Tsvetaeva.

WHEN: Saturday 8 October, 18:30 – 21:00 (doors open at 18:00)

WHERE: The Chapel, Churchill College, Storey’s Way, Cambridge CB3 0DS

FEE: CamRuSS members / Concessions (Students, Children under 16, Senior Citizens, Ukrainian refugees) – £10; Non-members – £20. Book via AllEvents only.

LANGUAGE: Russian with some translation into English

You can download the POSTER for the event here. Please help us spread the word!

Elena Toponogova

Elena Toponogova is a concert pianist and chamber musician based in London. Her main interest is Russian repertoire with the special focus on the  music of Nikolai Medtner.

In 2017, Elena received a Master of Performance degree from the Royal College of Music, studying under Norma Fisher. Her studies were generously supported by the Norah Seary Trust, Altrusa Careers Trust, the Future of Russia Foundation and Tsukanov Family Foundation. She studied at the Academie de Musique Riviera in Switzerland with Pavel Gililov thanks to Help Musicians UK Transmission Fund grant.

Elena has taken part in many international festivals (Chichester Festival, Bloomsbury Festival and Timani Music Festival in Oslo, etc.). She has been performing as a soloist and chamber musician in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Russia and appeared at the prestigious Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Salzburg Wiener Saal, Amaryllis Fleming Hall, V&A Museum, St.Martin-in-the-Fields among many others.

In 2017, together with soprano Eleanor Penfold, Elena performed Prokofiev’s Five Poems of Anna Akhmatova at the Regent Hall with the support of Oleg Prokofiev Trust, which was called “an inspiring performance” by Musical Opinion magazine.

Elena is proud to be a part of Live Music Now initiative that brings live music to care settings and hospitals across the UK.

Alice Ruffle

Alice Ruffle studied at Clare College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music. In recent months she has played with the Musique Cordiale Festival Orchestra, East Anglia Chamber Orchestra and Mitchison Ensemble and has led the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra and Elysian Players. Alice teaches Latin, Italian and Classical Greek at the Perse Upper School, where she also coaches chamber music, and is a big fan of Max Pimenov’s ‘Comprehensible Russian Podcast’.




Peter Hewitt

Peter Hewitt devotes his music making to solo piano playing, chamber music and Lieder. Over the last 30 years he has built up many long term musical partnerships and has given over a thousand concerts playing an average of 60 concerts each season. His recital work regularly takes him all around the UK, America & the Middle East.

Peter has devoted a large proportion of his concert playing work to giving charity fund raising concerts. In the lockdown Peter devised and recorded a “Beethoven Bitesize” project, available on YouTube, where he talked about and then played single movements from the Beethoven piano sonatas.

Peter’s repertoire encompasses mainstream works from Bach to Prokofieff but he also maintains a healthy interest in the works of contemporary composers and has given many world premiere performances.  He has recorded for BBC Radio and Television, broadcast on Radio 3, Classic FM, Australian Broadcasting Company and New Zealand Radio and also made critically acclaimed commercial recordings for LITmusTremula and Meridian.

Vlada Lemeshevska

Vlada Lemeshevska is an actress and theatre maker originally from Riga, Latvia. She trained as an actress in London at East 15 Acting School and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. She participated in residencies at Shakespeare’s Globe and Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS, Moscow). 

In 2015, Vlada took part in The Summer Theatre School in Moscow, where she worked with some of the most prominent Russian theatre practitioners. Her acting credits include the roles of Suzanne in The Marriage of Figaro, Nora in A Doll’s House, Antigone in ANTI GONE and various roles in Anna Karenina & Love in a Nutshell. Vlada is also a Producer and Artistic Director of Xameleon Theatre.


Maria Blatstein

Maria Blatstein, a London based actress and pianist. Maria was born in Mariupol, Ukraine and graduated from Technion — Israel Institute of Technology. She has been living in Britain since 2007 and studied acting in City Academy and Actors Studio in London.

Maria performed in several music, theatre and film projects, including “Love in a Nutshell” by Xameleon Theatre and “The Cry of the Queen” by Orzu Arts. She is  also a permanent cast member of LiveWired, improvisation comedy troupe.



Lena Knight

Lena Knight is a Russian British actress based in London. Lena graduated from Nizhny Novgorod Drama Academy affiliated with Moscow Arts Theatre School in Russia and since then has worked extensively as a stage actress. She worked in repertory theatres Kostroma State Drama Theatre and Pushkin Pskov Drama Theatre, playing various roles, including Irina in Three Sisters and Masha in The Seagull.

She then moved to Saint Petersburg, where she worked in theatres, playing roles such as Catherine The Great and Larisa in Ostrovky’s Without the Dowry. Lena moved to London in 2000 and is working as an actress, acting and movement teacher and a theatre director.


Dmitry Turchaninov

Dmitry Turchaninov is a theatre director and actor based in London. Dmitry graduated as an Actor from Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He then joined Lithuanian Russian Theatre in Vilnius and played various roles, including leading roles in Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and Wrongly Accused by Ostrovsky.

Dmitry performed the main role in the show Walking with Dinosaurs which was staged in Saint-Petersburg (Russia) in association with BBC Worldwide. Dmitry also trained as a director, graduating with a Masters degree in Directing from Moscow Arts Theatre School.

He moved to London in 2011, having previously directed in Vilnius and Saratov. His shows in London include an adaptation of Chekhov’s short stories — Love in a Nutshell, A doll’s house by Ibsen and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy for Xameleon Theatre.

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