“Scarlet Sails” festivity in St. Petersburg
June 18, 2011
This is the most massive and famous public event in St. Petersburg. Its title has originated from a romantic novel with the same name (1922) by Alexander Grin – the book, known practically to every Russian. Two main characters of this touching story are a young lady Assol, seeing in her dreams a captain, who one day will arrive to her sailing a ship with scarlet sails and the captain Gray, who had heard about Assol’s best wish and made it come true. When at school each of us associated him/herself with these charming persons.
Now everyone can see this fairy tale – a ship with the scarlet sails – which is the unforgettable event in the lives of St. Petersburg high school graduates, who celebrate their leaving high school with farewell parties.
This celebration was originally introduced in 1968 and was arranged for 10 years in succession, followed by a long break of having no this festivity and only in 2005 it was renewed.
Now the “Scarlet Sails” is a large-scale show, gathering thousands of spectators not only from Russia, but also from all over the world.
It usually takes a few days to mount huge acoustic and lighting systems on the giant stages from both sides of the Palace bridge. Late at night people come to the embankments to see the fantastic water extravaganza, which has no analogues in Russia. At 1 a.m. a ship with the scarlet sails slowly passes along the Neva-river, accompanied with terrific fireworks and wonderful music. Observers are treated to a wide variety of free entertainment provided by the city, which also means appearances by popular rock stars, as well as St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, ballet, and other classical acts, performing on several stages simultaneously. The show also includes a series of large-scale events on the waters of the Neva-river, such as rowing and motorboat races, and a massive battle with pirates culminating with appearance of the spectacular “Scarlet sails” tall ship.
The Scarlet Sails show celebrating the end of school year 2007 was attended by more than one million people. In 2010 public attendance grew up to 3 million, and the entertainers were such stars as Canadian Cirque du Soleil, Mariinsky Ballet and Antonio Banderas among others. The show has always been the essential part of the White Nights celebrations.
The scenario of this year festivity promises a lot of interesting things, though most of them are kept in secret. At least it’s known for sure, that there will be Cirque du Soleil’s performance and a grandiose pyrotechnic, laser and multimedia show.