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Disney Spreads Christmas Joy

On Dec. 20, the Walt Disney Company invited youngsters to the cultural capital for an evening of magic.

Published: December 26, 2013 (Issue # 1792)



  • A pleasantly surprised visitor to Disneys event at the Musical Comedy Theater last week.
    Photo: Disney / For SPT

  • A performance of Aladdin was the main event for more than 700 disadvantaged youth flown in from across Russia.
    Photo: Disney / For SPT

For nearly a century, Disneys stories have kept generations of children rapt with attention thanks to unforgettable characters such as Beauty, Simba and Ariel. In Russia, theyve also given more than 700 very lucky children an early Christmas present theyll never forget.

On Dec. 20, for the seventh year in a row and for the third time in St. Petersburg, the Walt Disney Company, in collaboration with several local charities as well as the Russian government, invited youngsters to the cultural capital for an evening of magic at the Musical Comedy Theater on Ulitsa Italianskaya.

Aladdin, the rags-to-riches story of a young boy and his discovery of a magic lamp, was the highlight of an extraordinary evening. Colorful costumes, memorable characters and intricate choreography brought delight and joy to the faces of every girl and boy.

Aside from kids from the Leningrad Oblast, children affected by the summers devastating flooding in the Far East were flown in for the holiday extravaganza.

At the end of the evening, all attendees received a gift bag featuring toys, a coloring book, a puzzle, a mug, a lunch box and sweets.

The Walt Disney Corporation has now given over 6,000 children from all over Russia a chance to embrace the magic of the holiday season in the past seven years. This years guests came from the Republic of Sakha, Primorsky and Khabarovsk Krai, Magadan and Amur as well as from the Jewish autonomous oblast.

The event is one of two in Russia this year. On Dec. 14, 600 children were treated to a production of Moidodyr in Moscow, Chukovskys classic fairytale about a talking washbasin, at the Bolshoi Theater. This years show was the first in St. Petersburg since 600 people were treated to Sleeping Beauty at the Mikhailovsky Theater in 2011.

Giving back to communities is one of Disneys founding principles, according to the company website. Today, we continue that tradition as we seek to do our part in improving and enriching the lives of children and families, as well as contributing our time, resources and energies to communities around the world.

Their commitment to charity work, along with the recent opening of several merchandise stores in Russia, is part of the expanding influence of the American creative giant overseas. Since Hercules was dubbed into Russian 15 years ago, Disney has launched its own Russian television channel, online radio station, and computer and video games catering specifically to a Russian-speaking audience. Disney now has the highest sales of any movie studio in Russia and accounts for 26 percent of the film markets revenue.

Luckily, Disney movies appeal to universal values, and they are adored by cinema audiences around the world, said Marina Zhigalova-Ozkan, managing director of Disneys Russian and CIS operations, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. Russia is no exception. For instance, boys in every country played pirates long before the first of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was shot.

Disneys most recent release in Russian, Frozen, features the voices of acclaimed jazz singer Anna Buturlina and pop star Dima Bilan. The movie raked in more than 377 million rubles ($11.4 million) in its first week. As of Dec. 22, the movie has earned nearly $200 million worldwide since its release, 44 percent of which has been earned abroad.

Such matters meant little to the assembled crowd of children at the Musical Comedy Theater on Dec. 20, however. One can imagine though that, for these kids, recent hardships became unimportant as they were transported to another world filled with magic and wonder, if only momentarily.

Keep dreaming, said Zhigalova-Ozkan before the curtain was raised on Aladdin last Friday. It is only by dreaming that your dreams can come true.

This report contains material from The Moscow Times.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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