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May 16, 2012

Midweek Madness: Saluting the latest inauguration of Vladimir Putin

Back around Christmas time, I interviewed a cirque artist who told me he had performed for three Russian presidents. I had to bite my tongue so as not to ask if all of them were named Vladimir Putin.

Seeing Putin once being grandly inaugurated last week made me think that some sort of festive salute, Midweek Madness-style, was in order.

I know that I have featured a certain indelible Russian vocal artist before, singing his greatest hit (one of the greatest pieces of vocal music, ever, for sure), but how could I resist an encore now? Especially since this particular song ...

was first a hit during the Soviet era, and, hey, doesn't it feel like just a little bit like the wonderful Soviet era is comin' back?

I found a performance of the song I had not seen before and it's just too good not to share. OK, so it comes from what must have been a Christmas TV special, but, hey, isn't every day Christmas in Putin's Russia? And isn't it fun to see an audience looking so genuinely, I mean really, really natural, unrehearsed and so doggone happy?

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:09 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Drama Queens

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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