Russia declares World Cup open after glitzy show

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.

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

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2018 World Cup opening ceremony
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Russian Soprano Aida Garifullina performs during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Artists perform in the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: British popstar Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: British popstar Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
A general view during the opening ceremony before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14, 2018: Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium. Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS (Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Robbie Williams performs at the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14, 2018: Performers at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium. Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS (Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina perform during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: British popstar Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: General View of performers at the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - World Cup - Opening Ceremony - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 14, 2018 General view during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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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. (Writing by Tom Balmforth)

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