Friday, February 07, 2014

Winter Olympics: Ceremony of Russian History and Culture, in Sochi

The four-hour Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony of Russian History and Culture in Sochi came off almost perfectly on NBC Friday night (site), except for one snowflake that didn’t expand into the fifth ring.

The entire night skyline of Sochi is bathed in Facbook blue.  So it is inside. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Russians’ show was the garish colors, right out of “Toy Story” or the Nutcracker.  On some displays, the dancers looked like aliens, or dolls. 

Another aspect was the impressive aerial work, including various giant white hawks, and a flying train or choo-choo, in the Russian history section showing the “worker’s paradise”.

A third aspect as the CGI work, depicting detailed maps on the ice field, such as a board-game map of Eurasia (as if to play Global Pursuit rather than chess), and later a 3-D (without glasses) rendition of old St. Petersburg, allowing the viewer to believe she is taking a 15-minute trip to the palaces, and then even to the Hermitage or Russian Ark.

For music, some Borodin (a transcription of a string quartet theme), then Alexandrov’s famous Russian State Anthem (played before the intermission in the movie “Reds” in 1982), then most of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” for the history ballet, as well of excerpts from Prokofiev’s “War and Peace”, “Ivan the Terrible”  and “Romeo and Juliet’, then Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and “Nutcracker”.

The “Hymn of the Nations” (Verdi) seemed abbreviated, but the ceremony came to a rousing close with the brazen close of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird”.  That gets played in gay discos, but don’t tell Putin that.  

Any Mobius strips in the aerial show?

Update: Feb. 9

Does Sage Kotsenburg replace Shaun White in the "charisma department" for winning the Slope Style competition Saturday?  Remember, Shaun is 27 now and a business man, running companies.  Pulling out when you are injured may just mean a sign of maturity, of having grown up and being able to see around corners.  Ask Dr. Phil.

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