When the legendary Fyodor Chaliapin left his apartment in 1922, the trip was declared a foreign tour but effectively ended as a politically-charged emigration. Every day these walls hear the voice of the basso profundo, whose renditions of Mephistopheles, Boris Godunov and Don Quixote are still regarded as iconic. The museum contains a collection of recordings that are played during every excursion. One of the halls represents a copy of the singer’s dressing room at the Mariinsky Theater. Tastefully furnished, decorated with a number of the singer’s portraits made by such Russian artists as Kustodiev, Golovin and Korovin, the atmospheric apartment is a beautiful example of a turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg bohemian home.
2B Ulitsa Graftio. theatremuseum.ru/filial/dom_muzey_ shalyapina
Visitors are often surprised by the modesty of Sergei Kirov’s apartment. It is ascetic, presenting a sharp contrast to the luxurious private houses of the country’s leading politicians of today. One of the leading Bolshevik politicians and head of the city’s Communist Party Committee, Kirov received this flat from the Soviet government in April 1926 and lived there with his wife until his assassination in December 1934. The murder of the politician, who was seen as a martyr by Soviet historians, marked the beginning of mass repressions and deportations. This apartment, visited by Stalin and the most prominent politicians of the time, makes for one of the best museums for documenting the Stalinist period. One of the rooms copies Kirov’s office at Smolny. An impressive interactive display in a maid’s room illustrates the system of food distribution in the 1930s, when ration cards were used to distribute scarce supplies among the starving population.
26-28 KamennoostrovskyProspekt. kirovmuseum.ru
Composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who created some of the most famous and beloved Russian operas and ballets, was a most hospitable host. His apartment was a cultural center in its own right. His “Korsakov’s Wednesdays” parties gathered up to 100 people, with composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and artist Mikhail Vrubel being among the most frequent guests. The apartment, where the composer lived for 15 years and created 11 of his 15 operas, is rich in memorabilia, has a cozy atmosphere and features a small concert hall, which hosts a concert every week.
28 Zagorodny Prospekt. rkorsakov.ru