Russia declares World Cup open after glitzy show

Russia declares World Cup open after glitzy show
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 General view during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

 

MOSCOW, June 14 (Reuters) – Russia declared the soccer World Cup open on Thursday at a glitzy ceremony in Moscow headlined by British pop star Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

 

The 15-minute show produced by Russia’s state Channel One broke from World Cup tradition, focusing on musical acts including a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky in front of full stands at the capital’s main Luzhniki stadium.

 

Iker Casillas and Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova brought the World Cup trophy onto the pitch in a Louis Vuitton travel case.

Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Players line up before the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Russia President Vladimir Putin before the match REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Performers during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 General view before the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Members of the media before the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 General view before the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 World Cup mascot Zabivaka during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Soccer Football – World Cup – Opening Ceremony – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – June 14, 2018 Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina perform during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Robbie Williams performed hits “Let Me Entertain You” and “Rock DJ” accompanied by dancers and freestylers.

 

He was joined in a duet by Garifullina, a soloist from the Vienna State Opera, who entered the pitch on a firebird, singing Williams’ hit song “Angels”.

 

The opening ceremony was due to be followed by a match between the host team and Saudi Arabia.