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Best Ever Performance of the Olympic Anthem


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well - I am very interested in anthems, flags, etc. etc.

In my point of view the anthems in Salt Lake City, Sydney and Torino are my favourite at the moment (and since my home country hasn't hosted for a long time I might be not biased too much)...

Torino was just wonderful - with this one child and the background chor - furthermore the Italian anthem is quite beautiful and unique.

Sydney - I think the lyrics of the Australian anthem fit quite good as a kind of welcome to the visitors and athletes from all over the world - and I think Julie Anthony did a marvellous job - she presented the pride of the Aussies and their hospitality at the same time

Salt Lake City - that was a very moving situation with the star sprangled banner from the WTC

Of course all other anthems at OC are wonderful - but these three moved me most...

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opps - I "overread" that you mean the Olympic Anthems

Yeah - the version in Vancouver was nice, but I have to admit that I am not really a fan of the Olympic Anthem...

It is in a way too "artificial/hokey/phony" for me - I can't give you a reason, but that is how I feel, when I hear it - I somehow do not link the anthem with the Olympic Games...

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Sissel, without doubt, was the best olympic anthem performance so far. It was a simple, yet a powerful one (and i liked that they didnt used the same sound pitch of always).

Sydney has to be my second choice and i would put Athens on third place (i loved the chorus performance back then).

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Yeah - the version in Vancouver was nice, but I have to admit that I am not really a fan of the Olympic Anthem...

It is in a way too "artificial/hokey/phony" for me - I can't give you a reason, but that is how I feel, when I hear it - I somehow do not link the anthem with the Olympic Games...

I'm with you, mate. An overlong, mournful and forgetable dirge. The only good thing about it is that it gives a natural break during watching the ceremonies to make a coffee or go to the loo!

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I like Measha and enjoyed her performance at Vancouver, but I felt they made her over do it a bit.

I recently listened to

- she was as clear as a frosty starlit night in Norway.

I liked Placido Domingo's performance at the Barcelona Closer. But not so much Ben Heppner's in Vancouver.

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Measha's rendition was simply pompous and over-inflated...standard fare for the stuffed shirts and big knobs in the IOC inner circle who think that what they do is high art or almost operatic in quality. Sissel's on the other hand was simple, Kenadian put it rather poetically as clear as frosty starlit night in Norway and finished with a dare I say a rather heart warming children's chorus joining in.

Also considering that it is a choral piece to have a single soprano or tenor performing the Olympic Hymn is almost like having 'I Am The Walrus' performed solo on harpsichord (well, maybe not :P ). It's a piece of music that requires more than one voice to convey its emotion, and shares much of the musical spirit of bombastic opera pieces from the mid-late 1800s (such as those by Wagner). Sissel's performance undercut that pomposity and the children in the Lillehammer OC choir made it human.

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Best by a country mile was Sissel's performance at Lillehammer. All others including Sydney's are at least in second place.

I agree. The Lillehammer performance was brilliant

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Just listened to Sissel's rendition and it just struck me now that she did a Norwegian version of the hymn. Interesting. Didn't think there were versions other than the Greek and English. Can't wait for the Qatari version!! :lol:

Dont forget the portuguese version :lol: we'll probably hear it in 6 years

And i agree with everyone, Measha performance of the anthem was too pompous and exaggerated for my own tastes (for a moment i tought her head was going to explode when she was performing the final notes). I'm not very fan of solo performances of the anthem without any chorus, so yeah.

Funny no one mentioned the Beijing 2008 one. It was very simple, i know, but the chorus performance was pretty good if you ask me, and they used the greek language very well

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Tsk, tsk, Baron... Didn't you even mention in your book that the Olympic Anthem was already performed in several languages at the Olympic ceremonies (I don't have the book at hand right now)? ;)

As far as I know, the Olympic Anthem has so far been performed in

* Greek (Montreal 1976 OC & CC, Moscow 1980 OC, Calgary 1988 OC, Sydney 2000 OC, Athens 2004 OC & CC, Beijing 2008 OC & CC)

* English (Lake Placid 1980 OC & CC, LA 1984 OC & CC, Atlanta 1996 OC & CC, Sydney 2000 CC, Salt Lake 2002 OC & CC)

* English and French (Vancouver 2010 OC & CC)

* Catalan, Spanish and French (Barcelona 1992 OC & CC)

* Russian (Moscow 1980 CC)

* Norwegian (Lillehammer 1994 OC & CC)

* Korean (Seoul 1988 OC & CC)

* Serbo-Croatian (Sarajevo 1984 OC & CC)

* Japanese (Nagano 1998 OC & CC)

I'm not sure about the languages used in the Moscow ceremonies (there is some controversy about that, since there are clips out there where you hear the Russian version at the OC but that sound was allegedly superimposed later) and I don't know which language they used in Calgary's CC. As far as I know, at all other Olympic Games (Torino being the most recent ones), they used instrumental versions of the Olympic Anthem.

For example this one which is my absolute favourite of all Olympic Anthem performances. It's an instrumental version, but it sounds so happy, light and yet stirring and solemn. OK, and as a German maybe I'm a little biassed, too ;):

But of all sung versions, Sissel's version in Lillehammer is my favourite, too. But the choir version in LA 1984 wasn't bad either, especially the orchestration. Sadly, someone took that clip down from YouTube one or two years ago. Maybe I'll re-upload it some day.

Anyway, especially after listening to Munich's version I'm really surprised how one can say about the Olympic Anthem that it is "an overlong, mournful and forgetable dirge". I think that it has a very inspiring and positive tune -- at least if it is performed correctly (without dark voices or rather slow arrangements, that is) ;).

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By the way, regarding the Munich video as well: Whenever I hear the horns blaring for the final cresceno at 3:08 and the Olympic Flag elegantly starts to flutter to the applause of the audience, I always choke up. You can't stage such moments better! That's why I'm always sad that in today's Olympic Games, the Olympic Anthem arrangements are often so dull and in the wind-protected Olympic stadia, the flag doesn't flutter anymore while being hoisted (only sometimes at the top of the flagpole, when they use airvents like in Torino, Beijing and Vancouver -- but that always looks so cringeworthily artificial).

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Tsk, tsk, Baron... Didn't you even mention in your book that the Olympic Anthem was already performed in several languages at the Olympic ceremonies (I don't have the book at hand right now)? ;)

As far as I know, the Olympic Anthem has so far been performed in

* Greek ( Beijing 2008 OC & CC)

1. I don't recall that I dwelt much on the Olympic Anthem.

2. Am surprised that Beijing did NOT Sinofy it. :blink: Did Yimou & lieutenants have a brain fart?

I find it a very stirring song. (Altos and mezzos should not sing it; it's very jarring when they do!) As Ikarus said, we'll be hearing Portuguese and Afrikaans versions of it for not too long.

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For example this one which is my absolute favourite of all Olympic Anthem performances. It's an instrumental version, but it sounds so happy, light and yet stirring and solemn. OK, and as a German maybe I'm a little biassed, too ;):

In Munich it was played in a faster version therewith the athletes had it easier to walk in the same "rhythm" - there were not used to walk in lock step...

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2. Am surprised that Beijing did NOT Sinofy it. :blink: Did Yimou & lieutenants have a brain fart?

Strangely enough, there was a Chinese version of the anthem made especially for the Beijing Games and even publicly performed a few months before the opening day, but it was never used for the Games themselves:

Here, you can hear at least the first part of the tune better and a little bit longer, without commentary:

In Munich it was played in a faster version therewith the athletes had it easier to walk in the same "rhythm" - there were not used to walk in lock step...

That's right, but the arranger of the anthem obviously did its job well also in this regard. It looked very smooth how they marched in and took the stadium lap.

I think Calgary presented it in Greek.

At the opening ceremony, definitely. But also in the closing ceremony? That was my question.

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1. Strangely enough, there was a Chinese version of the anthem made especially for the Beijing Games and even publicly performed a few months before the opening day, but it was never used for the Games themselves:

2. At the opening ceremony, definitely. But also in the closing ceremony? That was my question.

1. It looked like it was merely an informal choir (the director said of "...overseas Chinese.." (and NOT everyone in that little choir looked Chinese) that didn't seem to have formal BOCOG backing. So my guess is, its Chinese version might've contained thoughts and messages that the Politburo members didn't want heard? At least if it stayed in Greek (with a heavily Chinese-accented Greek at that), then the 900 million who watched (and probably the 75 million overseas Chinese) would certainly NOT have understood it. I mean maybe only 13-14 million people in the world speak Greek, so all its subversive 'democratic' ideals would only stay with that small population. That's my guess for the rationale NOT to USE the Chinese version on the actual OC and CC nights.

2. Re Calgary, I am sure the Closing would've been in Greek also. If they had the choir rehearse and perform it in Greek at the Opening, then I am sure they didn't have a separate choir to do it in English if it wasn't done that way in the OC to begin with.

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1. It looked like it was merely an informal choir (the director said of "...overseas Chinese.." (and NOT everyone in that little choir looked Chinese) that didn't seem to have formal BOCOG backing. So my guess is, its Chinese version might've contained thoughts and messages that the Politburo members didn't want heard? At least if it stayed in Greek (with a heavily Chinese-accented Greek at that), then the 900 million who watched (and probably the 75 million overseas Chinese) would certainly NOT have understood it. I mean maybe only 13-14 million people in the world speak Greek, so all its subversive 'democratic' ideals would only stay with that small population. That's my guess for the rationale NOT to USE the Chinese version on the actual OC and CC nights.

I wouldn't smell conspiracy immediately, even if we talk about the Chinese regime here. Have you heard how positively that lead singer of the choir (Sun Ho) talked about the Beijing Games? I think it is very far-fetched that the Chinese version contained anything unpleasant for the Chinese regime. Especially since that performance seems to have taken place in a somewhat official ceremony in the surrounding of the Beijing Games (I read "The Inauguration Of Olympic Philately & Culture Tour" behind the choir). If there had been anything wrong with the lyrics, the control freaks in the Chinese politburo would have most certainly not let the choir perform (I guess that all lyrics for such big public musical performances have to be authorised by the regime in China, just like the GDR regime did) and would also have prevented a Reuters news team filming and reporting about that performance.

Additionally, there were even officials of the Beijing organising committee present at the performance of that anthem version:

On February 29, 2008, Ho had the honor of performing the Olympic Hymn, which was sung in Mandarin for the first time ever, during the officiating ceremony of “Olympic Philately & Cultural Tour” launched by The Beijing Olympics. Held at the grand Royal Theatre within the famed Forbidden City, Ho was accompanied by a choir of Overseas Chinese from 16 different nationalities, performing before the key leaders of the International Olympic Committee, many important officials from the Ministry of Culture, Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_received_by_Ho_Yeow_Sun

2. Re Calgary, I am sure the Closing would've been in Greek also. If they had the choir rehearse and perform it in Greek at the Opening, then I am sure they didn't have a separate choir to do it in English if it wasn't done that way in the OC to begin with.

That (allegedly) didn't prevent Moscow 1980 to have their choir perform the Olympic Anthem in Greek at the opening and in Russian in the closing ceremony. Or take Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake or Vancouver who had completely different Olympic Anthem performers for the opening and the closing ceremony (who says that Calgary had the same choir performing at the CC?). In Sydney, they even had a Greek version for the OC (sung by the Choir of the Greek-Orthodox Archdiocese in Australia) and an English version for the CC (sung by soprano Yvonne Kenny, accompanied by that famous Bogong moth ;)).

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And here it is, the Olympic Flag and Anthem segment at LA's opening ceremony in 1984:

I believe one of our forum's members once uploaded it on YouTube (I downloaded it back then and now re-uploaded it). Could it be that our late friend Todd (LA84) uploaded it back then? But it could also have been one of the other US members of this forum. Sometimes I get confused about who is who in this forum.

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