The Third Saint-Petersburg International Cultural Forum began with an official opening ceremony, which was held on December 7 in the historical building of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. The best performing artists of Saint-Petersburg made their contributions to this grand event, marking both the end of the National Year of Culture in Russia and the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum.
The ceremony was intended to symbolize Saint-Petersburg's role as a bridge between various epochs and cultures, and each each item of the programme (contributed by the Northern Capital's finest musicians and creative organizations) offered a unique take on the Forum's motto: 'People. Culture. World'.
Sergey Stadler, People's Artists of Russia, violinist, and conductor, was granted the honour of beginning the official concert.
We humans are creative by nature, and the process of building a culture is a never-ending journey forward, powered by the undying desire to keep making new steps towards progress. However, a new step would have been impossible to make without the one that preceded it; each step is a logical continuation of previous progress, just like in dance — as shown to the ceremony's guests by company members of the Saint-Petersburg State Academic Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre, and by students of the Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy. Leonid Yacobson Theatres soloists, Alla Bocharova and Maksim Tkachenko, stunned the audience with the adagio from Anton Pimonov's one-act ballet In the Rhythm of Dreams, based on music by Sergey Prokofiev (Violin and Piano Sonata No. 2).
Among the key challenges faced by the Form's participants, was one crucial question: how is world culture going to develop in the nearest future? Will the heritage of different nations clash together in a deafening tumult of voices, echoing the disputes and conflicts that keep tearing our world apart; will the planet be plunged into a chaotic cacophony, where every musician plays their own tune with little to no regard of others — or is it possible to achieve a harmonious polyphony, where a multitude of unique melodies merges into a single chorus? Some hope that world culture will choose the second of these two paths, and this hope was reaffirmed by the students of the Glinka Boy Choir School, who sang the Inimitable Petersburg song in a tribute to the Forum's host city.
The 2014 Cultural Forum was attended by guests from dozens of countries, who had the opening ceremony interpreted for them simultaneously into three languages: French, English, and Chinese.
The Third Saint-Petersburg International Cultural Forum featured 16 sections, each comprising dozens of various events at over 50 venues across the city.
This forum provides a unique international platform for annual meetings, open discussions, and experience-sharing among culture experts and policy-makers, as well as government officials and members of the business community.
It is organized by the Russian Government and the Saint-Petersburg City Council, and supported by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Ministry of Culture, and the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications.
The event is held annually, starting from 2012, with the purpose of preserving and nurturing Russian culture, supporting culture-centric initiatives on the regional, federal and international level, and promoting international cultural cooperation. The Third Saint-Petersburg International Cultural Forum concluded the National year of Culture in Russia. It brought together over 3,000 experts from dozens of countries worldwide. The agenda included speeches and creative workshops by the most outstanding world-class artists; in addition, Russia signed several cooperation memoranda with a number of foreign nations.