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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 Russias 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, Russias 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 Putins 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, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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