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Three hundred years young: St. Petersburg's anniversary programme
May 11, 2003

This month the former Russian imperial capital of Saint Petersburg celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding with a lavish programme of cultural events.

The anniversary itself falls on May 27, but the Jubilee Week programme begins on May 23 and is followed by a schedule of events extending through much of the year.

Following is an agenda of some of the highlights.

Dates and venues are subject to change, and visitors to Saint Petersburg should check for details on the festival website, www.spb300.com.

Note that the city's Pulkovo airport will be closed to the public for three days at the end of the month to receive foreign leaders arriving for a summit on May 31.

May 15 to end of year: Exhibit "Parade of Peoples", at the Museum of Ethnography, devoted to Saint Petersburg's multiethnic history.

May 18 and Saturdays throughout the summer: "Concert Promenades" with wind orchestras in Summer Garden of State Russian Museum.

May 23: Gala opening of Jubilee Week, with a wide variety of concerts, performances and shows on the city's stages. Hiro Yamagato laser show by the banks of the river Neva.

May 24: Ice-Cream festival, gala opening.

Opening of Raduga (Rainbow), the 4th international festival of theatre for children and teenagers.

May 25: Premiere of "Anna Karenina", a musical based on Tolstoy's novel.

May 26: Grand opening of the St. Petersburg 300 Exhibition.

May 27-August 31: Exhibit on Peter the Great, State Hermitage Museum (public has access from June 2)

May 27: Hiro Yamagato laser show.

: Gala opening of new premises of St. Petersburg Opera, and premiere of "Peter the Great", the opera by Gaetano Donizetti.

: Reopening of Mikhailovsky Castle after extensive renovation.

May 29: International festival of military brass bands.

: Concert by New York's Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by James Levine.

May 30: 300th Anniversary Gala Concert at the Mariinsky Theater (to be broadcast worldwide live by the BBC).

: Start of 50-hour outdoor dancing marathon.

May 31: Inauguration by President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the refurbished Amber Room after a 24-year restoration programme.

: "Kronstadt Cockpit", a culinary art show.

June 1 : Gala of international rock stars .

: "White Nights" chess festival.

June 12: "Saint Petersburg in Waltzes" concert focussing on Glinka and Tchaikovsky, Mikhailovsky Garden.

June 28: Grand ball, open to the public but very expensive (tickets cost 1,500 dollars), at Konstantinovsky Palace.

June 28, "Okna Otkroi!" (Open the Window) rock festival featuring top Russian bands.

June 29-July 20, Peterhof: Music of the Fountains festival, with daily midday concerts.

June 30-July 4: Sand Sculpture Festival, on beach of Peter and Paul Fortress.

July 3-6: "White Nights Swing" jazz festival, with free concert July 6 in Mikhailovsky Garden.

July 15-23: International Baltic Regatta, Central Yacht Club.

July 21,24 and 26 and other provisional dates: Great Hermitage Festival, including Hermitage Museum Orchestra and guests.

August: Exhibit "Joseph Brodsky: Urania. Leningrad-Venice-New York" devoted to Saint Petersburg's Nobel-winning poet. At the Anna Akhmatova Museum.

Sept 14 - Oct 5: Sixth international Early Music Festival.

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