Within the framework of its long-standing partnership with Russia, Airbus, the European leading aircraft manufacturer, is pleased to participate in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg together with the Mariinsky Theatre, the world renowned Russian musical institution, during the 11th "Stars of the White Nights" Festival.

On 1 June, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre under Artistic Director Valery Gergiev, will perform two outstanding works based on Romeo and Juliette - one by Tchaikovsky and the other by Berlioz. Airbus is sponsoring this event to highlight the historical friendship and cultural relations existing between Russia and Western Europe.

"Airbus already enjoys a special relationship with Russia through the aviation industry. The cultural diversity of Airbus has always been important to us, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to strengthen our links with the people of Russia through music as well as through industrial co-operation," said Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. "We are especially proud to participate in the 300th Saint Petersburg anniversary celebration, in association with Maestro Valery Gergiev and the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre, whose talent and devotion have enabled them to achieve world recognition though artistic excellence."

"As Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and the 'Stars of the White Nights' Festival, I am very pleased that Airbus, which plays a significant role in developing fruitful economical relations between Russia and Western Europe, has decided to become a partner of our festival which is the most significant part of the cultural program of the St. Petersburg's tercentenary celebration, and I hope that these relations will be strengthened. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all music lovers who supported 'Stars of the White Nights' and without whom this musical forum would not happen," said Valery Gergiev.

Since 1993, the Festival has become the centre of creative aspirations of actors and artistic interests of the audience. The beauty of the white nights glorified by Pushkin also creates an unforgettable atmosphere for the Festival where the best artists of Russia and foreign countries join to create together. This year with the St. Petersburg’s tercentenary, "Stars of the White Nights" is even more of a festive and international event. In addition to regular performances by the Kirov Opera, Ballet and Orchestra with all the star soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre, this Festival includes visits by some of the most prestigious ensembles and soloists from around the world.

Companies invited from around the world to participate in the Festival include amongst others the Vienna and Israel Philharmonics, the Champs Elysées Orchestra, the World Orchestra (which unites musicians from world-famous orchestras in a single musical entity), the London’s Royal Ballet, Johnn Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet and the New York City Ballet. Zubin Mehta, Yuri Bashmet, Renée Fleming, and Placido Domingo are also amongst the numerous world acclaimed artists who will perform during this year’s festival.

St. Petersburg's tercentenary is one of the world’s key cultural events in 2003, with a programme worthy of this superb city. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, as a major centre of learning, information, transport and culture, St. Petersburg will remain at the heart of Russia’s economic and cultural prosperity in the 21st century.

Airbus, a clear example of successful transnational co-operation, has been working with the Russian aviation sector both at airline and industrial levels, since 1991. Since then co-operation has been progressively intensified with Airbus and its Russian counterparts demonstrating their desire for a long-term partnership, in which a realistic approach, mutual understanding and a commitment to the highest quality have been fundamental to this joint success. Recent major developments in the Airbus' partnership with the Russian aviation sector include the selection by flag carrier Aeroflot of the A320 Family aircraft as the backbone of its short-medium haul fleet and the implementation of the Airbus-Kaskol Engineering Centre in Moscow. Airbus has also a regional office in Moscow as well as a technical representation providing on-the-spot support to Aeroflot.

Headquartered in Toulouse (France), Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.