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Samara Holds Its First Opera Festival - 5 April, 2003

Samara, a provincial city of 1 million in the eastern part of Central Russia, is holding its first ever opera festival called The Samara Spring.

The playlist of the nine-day event, which opens today in the local Theater of Opera and Ballet, contains four performances /"Aida," "Traviata," Carmen," and "Eugene Onegin"/ featuring soloists from the Bolshoi and other famous theaters of Moscow.

The organizing committee is headed by Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker for the State Duma, or the lower house of the Russian parliament. Nikolai Baskov, a famous opera singer from Moscow, acts as the Artistic Director.

The festival is supposed to be held annually from this year on.

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An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building

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