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Russians to Invade Library of Congress — and Skate

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! And they’re going to be ice skating in the Library of Congress.

As part of a celebration of Russian arts next Thursday in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, Russian ice skaters are being flown in to skate on a special acrylic surface in the ornate Great Hall, according to event organizers. They add that, not surprisingly, it will be the first instance of skating in the Library.

The Role of the Arts in International Relations event is being put on by American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture and the Mariinsky Foundation of America.

The soiree will also feature a performance by renowned pianist Denis Matsuev and remarks by Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, Librarian of Congress James Billington and conductor Valery Gergiev, the artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Matsuev’s appearance is a pretty big deal for classical music fans. The pianist, nicknamed “The Siberian Bear,” won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1998. “You’ll probably not see him again for a long time” in such a setting, said Shelley Hymes of Angel Enterprises, who is running publicity for the event.

The shindig is invite-only.

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