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Sneak Peak at Sochi's Opening Ceremony

Published: February 6, 2014 (Issue # 1796)



  • Hundreds of volunteers played the role of athletes during the rehearsal, making a long procession around the stadium.
    Photo: Ivan Nechepurenko / SPT

The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics on Friday will take Russia’s biggest cultural gems and serve them up with contemporary dance music and spectacular lighting.

At least, that is what can be expected if the final rehearsal is anything to go by.

The organizers have asked that the exact contents of the ceremony be kept secret. On the conceptual level, the show consists of several episodes, each of them portraying a certain period and aspect of Russian culture.

Related: Sochi Children's Choir Serenade Putin at Mariinsky

Thousands of members of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, as well as their relatives and friends, were invited to the final rehearsal of the opening ceremony — an event which organizers say will be watched by 3 billion people across the globe. Drivers, technicians, event managers and other specialists filled the train from Sochi to the Olympic park for the occasion Tuesday, highlighting the collective commitment made by thousands to prepare for the Winter Olympics.

The rehearsal aimed to be as close to reality as possible, with men in dark suits playing the roles of President Vladimir Putin, International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach and Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko. Putin declared the Games open, while Bach and Chernyshenko gave speeches saying that the purpose of the Games was to inspire people.

Related: Olympic Volunteers Pour Into Sochi

Hundreds of volunteers played the role of athletes during the rehearsal, making a long procession around the stadium. The crowd cheered and stood up when the Russian team appeared.

Other volunteers played the role of Olympic flag carriers, who have not yet been identified but are said to include a conductor, scientist, teacher, and a cosmonaut, among others. In the ceremony, Russia’s biggest points of pride — classical music, ballet, the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russian avant-garde art and architecture — get their own special features. These symbols are then given a modern interpretation with palpitating music and prolific lighting. The ceremony also included a DJ set featuring popular Russian songs, including by Putin’s favorite band, Lube. Audience members called the show “awe-inspiring.”

“The show was interesting, to say the least,” said Vladimir, who works as an IT contractor for the Organizing Committee. Another purpose of the rehearsal was to test the logistics involved in moving a 40,000-person crowd in and out of the main Fisht Stadium.

As some of the entrances appeared to be closed, a big crowd rushed to the remaining ones, causing minor delays and discomfort.

At the end of the rehearsal, the organizers said that most of the ceremony had been revealed, though certain aspects, such as the lighting of the Olympic flame and the final songs, were kept under wraps for the real opening ceremony.

The stadium rehearsals also marked the opening of the Fisht Stadium, the Olympic facility that had observers worried after encountering severe delays and undergoing multiple redesigns.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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