It’s the day of the great ball at the Hermitage. The Spy mingles with the crowd and, despite his camera, manages to sneak in past the security guards at the palace entrance. On the lower floor, he encounters the Marquis de Custine, straight out of the 19th century. They strike up a friendship and set out together across the centuries and through different periods of art. By the time they make it to the ballroom, where the orchestra is conducted by Valery Gergiev, they have crossed paths with the Italian musicians belonging to the court of Catherine the Great, the Tzarina herself, followed by the sad state employees of the Soviet regime.