The Semperoper Dresden will perform on the eve of the World Day of Sister Cities that is celebrated annually on the last Sunday of April. It is symbolic twice as St. Petersburg and Dresden are not only the sister cities, in 2016 they also celebrate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of partner links.

However, there are much more commonalities in the history of both cities and many of them originated before the 20th century. St. Petersburg is nicknamed the Northern Venice and Dresden – the Florence on Elba. St. Petersburg is proud of the Hermitage Museum and Dresden – of its famous Gallery of the Old Masters. The symbol of our city is the Bronze Horseman and in Dresden one can see Elector Augustus the Strong, the ally of Peter the Great in the Northern War, sitting on a huge gilded stallion. It seems that the centuries-old friendship between our cities started thanks to the common interests between these prominent figures. The friendship was granted the official status in 1961, in the wake of the Sister City Movement that emerged after the World War Two, when peoples and nations tried to forget the pain and hatred and learn more about each other.

Leningrad-St. Petersburg and Dresden are the two cities that suffered terrible casualties and went through enormous hardship during the war. The 900-day Siege of Leningrad took more than hundred thousand lives. The history of Dresden is no less tragic. The barbaric bombardment of the Western Allies in 1945 turned the city into ruins, burying alive tens of thousands of residents.

Today St. Petersburg and Dresden are the museums under the open sky that attract millions of tourists with their impressive historical heritage. Therefore it is not a coincidence that the cultural exchange plays such an important role in the partnership of our cities. Recent years saw such cultural projects as the St. Petersburg Theatre Season when the best performances of the northern capital were shown in Dresden in 2012.

St. Petersburg is the place of honour for many visiting artists from Dresden. And this year the DANCE OPEN Festival is bringing the Semperoper Dresden that impressed so many ballet lovers of the city for the second time.