Poor acoustics, diesel generators and chanting football fans helped drown out Spanish tenor Placido Domingo on Saturday at an open-air gala concert outside Russia's famous Winter Palace.
Some 12,000 spectators gathered in the second city's Palace Square for the free concert, but many found it was impossible to hear Domingo, one of the famed "Three Tenors" who has helped bring opera to a wider audience.
The singer was barely audible more than 50 yards from the stage. "I thought that it would be difficult to hear, but I didn't expect it to be this bad," said Andrei Yershov, a St. Petersburg resident who attended the concert.
Noisy diesel generators powering beer tents that surrounded the historic square were the main villains, but fans of the local Zenith football club did little to help matters by chanting "Zenith champions!"
Domingo sang excerpts from Camille Saint-Saens' "Sampson and Delilah" opera and Richard Wagner's "Die Walkure" (The Valkyries), which he is to perform in St. Petersburg today. He was accompanied by the Marinskii Theatre Symphony Orchestra under its star conductor, Valery Gergiev.
The Spanish star was in St. Petersburg for its annual "White Nights" festival, so called because it falls during the time of year when the sun never fully sets.