On August 31, St Petersburg hosts Europe's largest Dresden Opera Ball, which is to take place outside Germany for the first time.
Leading Russian and European singers perform at three venues: the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonic and Arts Square.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome the participants and guests of the Dresden Opera Ball, including numerous fans of classical music who will be able to watch the broadcast in Russia, Germany and other countries. For the first time, this magnificent music festival is taking place outside Germany. We are greatly pleased that the renowned ball has arrived in Russia, in St Petersburg.
For many years, firm twin-city relations and vast experience in cultural cooperation and public diplomacy have unified these two cities. Today's festival reflects the spirit of friendship and trust that unites the people of Russia, Germany and all of Europe.
Our country is open to cooperation in various areas, and culture and art have a special and inspiring role in boosting mutual understanding between people.
We are happy to greet world opera stars, renowned performers, musicians and conductors, as well as members of sports, business and political communities.
I am confident that the first Dresden Opera Ball in St Petersburg will be a tremendous success and become a regular event full of impressive cultural events and charity and educational initiatives.
I wish you wonderful, exciting and happy impressions. Good luck!