President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the opening of the 2nd Dresden Opera Ball in St Petersburg. Taking place in the ceremonial rooms of the Catherine Palace, this year’s festival has a particularly grand feeling. The ball marks a special anniversary, 60 years since St Petersburg and Dresden became sister cities.
We value these strong decades-long ties with our German friends and we appreciate the experience of cooperating in a great variety of fields. Cultural and humanitarian projects play an essential role in this cooperation, as do both of the cities, St Petersburg and Dresden, which are major European and global cultural centres.
We know that Richard Wagner, whose life was closely associated with Dresden, had the first performances of his operas staged at the Mariinsky Theatre. Also, Dmitry Shostakovich and Fyodor Dostoyevsky lived and worked in the beautiful German city.
I would like to sincerely thank the founder of the Dresden Opera Ball Hans-Joachim Frey for his genuine love for Russia and for organising this remarkable festival that celebrates art, traditions, friendship and trust.
This wonderful atmosphere is a contribution from all the participants and guests of the ball, including prominent Russian and foreign opera singers and ballet dancers, classical and pop musicians, world-renowned jazz players, distinguished performers and members of the art world.
I wish you many unforgettable memories. Without doubt, the Dresden Ball in St Petersburg will open up prospects for many joint projects and will reinforce the friendship between our nations.
I wish you all the best.