An excellent Russian church choir is a wonder to hear. Does anyone know an especially good one to try to hear in St Petersburg? We're lucky to be there on a Sunday and would love to experience this.
We stopped at a large Russian Orthodox church on an island, but I forget the name of the church. After walking around the church, a gentleman in a black hooded robe approached our tour guide, and wanted to know if we'd like to listen to a 8 member men's choir. It was only the second time our guide had ever heard them. We were ushered into a side room where the acoustics were incredible. And I've never heard any better singers--making for a special afternoon.
The Orthodox church doesn't have any seats in their beautiful churches and everyone has to stand for services. They might have more members had they provided pews.
The same experience happened for us but it was at the St Peter and Paul Fortress. An A Capella group of men sang for us in a small chapel. They were also selling their cd's.
Male choirs , as David and Barbara have described , are fairly common at various venues ( Catherine Palace is a great example ) , in St Petersburg . Having said that , the quality of what you will hear is excellent ( and they usually do sell CD's of their work ) . That does not mean that they are substandard - I am a trained classical musician , and those that I encountered in St Petersburg were excellent . There is a plethora of excellent musicians throughout the world , and those making a living in this manner are ubiquitous . I have encountered many in past trips , and have always been entranced by their work , I particularly recall a Roma trio in Florence ( The Rom Draculas (( no kidding )) ) and a Cimbalom virtuoso near The ViktualienMarkt in Munich who kept me transfixed for better than half an hour . Enjoy what you hear !!
We heard a small a capella men's choir like this at St. Basil. We also heard a larger group including both men and women as I recall at a small church in a village along the Volga Baltic Canal between Moscow and Petersburg. They were quite lovely and it is particularly evocative in such stunning settings.