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Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony


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I generally like the ceremonies.

Strong Points

  • My heart sank when that fifth ring didn't open up :( We have seen it done in so many ways that it is hard to come up with new ideas. This concept was one of the better ones and I was sad it didn't work out live
  • I really liked the use of floats showing the Russian country side
  • Excellent rendition of the Olympic Hymn
  • I liked the simplicity of the cauldron lighting. Too bad the spectators had to watch it on screen, but the cauldron will be very accessible to those visiting the park.

Not as strong points

  • Maybe my North American attention span is just short, but I felt some parts dragged on for too long. Like when we went through the entire Russian Alphabet.
  • There was a long video sequence showing the development of Russia which ended with the roof of the stadium being put on my helicopter. I don't think that actually happened like that in real life.
  • I felt unmoved by the music used during the artistic portions. Could just be a cultural difference. By contrast I vividly remember the music used from almost every other ceremony I have watched.
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Please stop derailing the thread with fights. PM's exist for a reason, you know?. Also, thanks for the link, Jmark. Glad to see a video without any pesky commentators on it. I myself downloaded thre

A missing 'leg' would have made it appropriate for the Paralympics!!!!

Not only that, but it becomes the blue circle if you look at it from behind.

My thoughts in brief;

Clunky, heavy, cumbersome, not wintry enough, the 'red' scene was boring and repetitive. The national anthem was totally over the top. Bad camera angle for the flag raising and much of the athletes parade with empty seats in the background.

Liked the map on the floor and the use of Russian classical music

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  • I felt unmoved by the music used during the artistic portions. Could just be a cultural difference.

Given that they included some of the greatest classical compositions in the history of the world, ever, yes it definitely was a cultural difference.

The Parade of Nations music, on the other hand, was very very vanilla.

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for me I think that it's how the ceremony starts that will leave the lasting impression of the tone of the event.

The irony is that, psychologically speaking, it's how an experience ends which leaves the lasting impression. In Sochi's case that meant a ho-hum Cauldron lighting, and an overlong fireworks display. Which was a pity, because the artistic portions of the ceremony were generally very good (actually a double pity, because the live audience could only appreciate it by rushing out of the stadium as soon as the torch-bearers disappeared into the props shed).

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I liked it but it was not as good as London and Vancouver. But way better than Torino.

The alphabet sequence was good but a bit too long. The countdown was again like Vancouver and London not so strong.

I liked the way Beijing did much better. There must be people shouting the countdown!

The scene with the russian country side. Had a magic touch with all the smoke on the ground.

Then the 5 Rings..........that is a real fail.

The presentation of the hymn was nice. I expected some military action like in Beijing but luckily they did it without.

And the hymn was sung in the only real way: A mens choir! It fits perfect to the russian hymn.

The white-blue-red lighting over the lighted people were a bit too much but still ok.

The parade of nations was very good. Nice idea with the map on the ground and brilliant idea to seperate the teams in two directions.

One team walks left the next right and so on. Makes it all a bit faster.

A t.a.t.u song that sounded a bit like the beginning of "We will rock you" for the russian team? Reminds me of London.

The mascots? I didn´t need that.

Next the video of the russian history was good and high quality made. Dissapointing that my new 55" TV hastn´t arrived yet ;)

The white horses and the dancing churches were nice but nothing special.

The sequence with the boat was...I don´t know. Again nothing special. Seen things like that in Vancouver.

But what came after that was one real good part in my opinion.

St.Petersburg, marching soldiers/band , and a wonderful ballet part.

Next Doc Browns time machine, oh sorry, the floating train. Nice music but much too long.

The stalin age had Hipsters?! Oh my god...... :lol:

The speech from Thomas Bach was nice.

The dove/jellyfish/peace segment was very good. I start to like ballet...... :lol:

Please no female opera singers in the next O.C. Anna Netrebko sounded awful just like that woman in Vancouver.

This piece of music is written for a choir!

The constellation part was cool but a bit too long. And yes I heard the Harry Potter music too.

The lighting was ok but too fast. I mean the fire went up to fast in the end. And it was a pity that this square was empty. They easily could light this

small cauldron inside and let the fire from there travel outside. But I must admit that this camera angle with the big blue cauldron tower in the back

was very impressive.

Finally the fireworks were very good. A bit old school but nice effects.

After all I would give it a 7,5 / 10

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Rio De Janerio is 3 hours ahead of NY Time.. Does this mean NBC will transmit Rio 2016 OC Live? Was Salt Lake 2002 OC Live on NBC?

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Rio De Janerio is 3 hours ahead of NY Time.. Does this mean NBC will transmit Rio 2016 OC Live? Was Salt Lake 2002 OC Live on NBC?

It's better than that, because Rio is in the southern hemisphere, so technically it's winter, hence no Daylight Saving time shift- the difference ends up at only one hour, I think.

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Rio De Janerio is 3 hours ahead of NY Time.. Does this mean NBC will transmit Rio 2016 OC Live? Was Salt Lake 2002 OC Live on NBC?

I think your right. In winter, germany is only 3 hours ahead of Rio. In Summer (Northern Hemispere) it is 5 hours from here, so it will be closer to NYC.

Btw. I forgot about that past olympic games shown in the O.C.

For me this a important part of an O.C.

That was the first highlight in Vancouver. 2002 Salt Lake, 2006 Torino, 2010 VANCOUVER!!!! Sounds to me like: Welcome,we are part of the olympic history now!

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Really enjoyed it - was visually stunning - real pity about the ring malfunction as this would have been the best sequence. Thought it was a bit turgid & lacked momentum in places. Some sequences were just too long. The big fail was the lighting of the flame - just boring and unmoving. I thought it was hilarious that Putin's girlfriend was one of the final torch bearers & was gobsmacked that Putin himself didn't light the cauldron!

Thought that it was good but preferred Vancouver & SLC.

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Well, I found both London and Vancouver quite underwhelming. I thought Sochi was a huge improvement.

It's interesting to me the way some of these comments sound so jaded. It really was a very strong ceremony. Beautifully designed. Well-paced.

The rings were a sad accident that could've happened anywhere.

The cauldron was what it was. They couldn't have both the visible cauldron and the track for the show. It was either/or. I think they made the right choice.

The musicianship was exceptional and anyone who complains about the hymn must just dislike opera because her technique was flawless.

The only thing that kept the show out of the same league as Athens and Beijing was that it was not as innovative or artistically adventurous. It was a very accessible show.

A very strong opening to the Games.

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I think your right. In winter, germany is only 3 hours ahead of Rio. In Summer (Northern Hemispere) it is 5 hours from here, so it will be closer to NYC.

Btw. I forgot about that past olympic games shown in the O.C.

For me this a important part of an O.C.

That was the first highlight in Vancouver. 2002 Salt Lake, 2006 Torino, 2010 VANCOUVER!!!! Sounds to me like: Welcome,we are part of the olympic history now!

Here in England, we are 3 hours ahead of Rio.

Well, I found both London and Vancouver quite underwhelming. I thought Sochi was a huge improvement.

It's interesting to me the way some of these comments sound so jaded. It really was a very strong ceremony. Beautifully designed. Well-paced.

The rings were a sad accident that could've happened anywhere.

The cauldron was what it was. They couldn't have both the visible cauldron and the track for the show. It was either/or. I think they made the right choice.

The musicianship was exceptional and anyone who complains about the hymn must just dislike opera because her technique was flawless.

The only thing that kept the show out of the same league as Athens and Beijing was that it was not as innovative or artistically adventurous. It was a very accessible show.

A very strong opening to the Games.

I would tend to disagree on that.

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Finally saw the whole thing last night on NBC's primetime coverage. I really liked it. Of course for me, the more over-the-top, the better!! :lol: But I actually liked the restraint that Ernst & Givens & company put into this ceremony. I liked the big set pieces:

- LUVED, LUVED the whispering Countdown sequence!!

- the islands sequence (altho that was very "Avatar") w/ Rimsky-Korsakov's "Stranger in Paradise" theme;

- the little mass demo during the Internationale (w/ the excellent choice of a chorus from a seminary!!); and what a masterstroke that was becuz otherwise, it would have been an empty field everyone was looking at while the anthem played. At least, they had a little ingenious mass movement there. (That is where I found the Athens show lacking. All that negative space, i.e., not filled by performers, is deadly dull. The simple little demo here proves that you need to fill the field with bodies & movement and some sort of meaning.)

- the playful, beach-like circus of St. Basil's sequence;

- LOVED the whole St. Petersburg morphing into the "War and Peace" section); and

- the Revolutions sequences (reminded of a de Chirico painting but dipped in hues of red...)

- And then bringing it back altogether w/ the 5 rings again & the "Stranger in Paradise" theme closing it.

Was not too crazy about the "Jellyfish/Doves" sequence nor the "Olympic Gods" skaters. Lacked color and those star-guys, Beijing did better with their Starmen & the Lang-Lang piano sequence.

Good for them for just keeping a simple lighting sequence (back to basics); and yeah, time to get the Review of the Past WOGs a rest.

On a second viewing, I would say it's almost as good as Vancouver and Salt Lake City!!

BTW,

1. where was the chorus of 1,000 Russian children from all over the country? and

2. Was the Olympic anthem sung in Greek or in Russian??

Someone asked about the orchestra? I think nearly all the orchestral music was prerecorded. Russia does not have the same musicians' unions' rules that they have elsewhere.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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OK, looks like I've pinpointed the point now when the focus of the OC's creative direction changed from the initial "ice show" concept (which wasn't locked in stone), to a non-ice show but heavy on all that hanging stuff. It apparently changed when Putin put in (how about that for some alliteration, huh??? :) ) Konstantin Ernst as EP; relegating Scott Givens (who was the SOCOG's first choice) to just Major Consultant.

Here's the quote from The New Yorker article:

Damon Lavelle, an architect at the British firm Populous, who worked on early plans for Fisht stadium, the site of Sochi’s opening and closing ceremonies, told me that after Ernst and his team became involved “ambitions grew enormously.” The stadium, which had been planned as an open structure, had to be redesigned with a closed roof, in order to accommodate the technical demands of Ernst’s vision for the opening show.

So when Ernst & team (Putin's choice) were put in place, it became a "flying" show, thus the concept changed from an open-air ice show, to a very prop-heavy, scenery-flying show. Which I think worked for the better.

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2. Was the Olympic anthem sung in Greek or in Russian??

Someone asked about the orchestra? I think nearly all the orchestral music was prerecorded. Russia does not have the same musicians' unions' rules that they have elsewhere.

Russian. They used the same version sung in Moscow 1980. Which was a nice detail.

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SOCHI, Russia -- IOC President Thomas Bach took a shot at former President George Bush for breaking the traditional protocol at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Bach was asked at a news conference whether Russian President Vladimir Putin might use Friday night's opening ceremony in Sochi as political propaganda.

Bach said, under the Olympic Charter, heads of state speak only one sentence, declaring the games open.

Bach said all leaders have kept to the script -- "except for one who violated the charter in Salt Lake City in 2002."

The Salt Lake Games were held less than five months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Bush prefaced his declaration with a few non-scripted patriotic words: "On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation, I declare open the games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Winter Games."

Said Bach: "All the other heads of state respected the charter and I'm absolutely sure the charter will be respected tonight."

Putin stayed true to the text, saying in Russian: "I declare open the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in Sochi."

http://t.foxsports.msn.com/olympics/ioc-president-takes-verbal-jab-at-fromer-president-bush

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- the little mass demo during the Internationale (w/ the excellent choice of a chorus from a seminary!!); and what a masterstroke that was becuz otherwise, it would have been an empty field everyone was looking at while the anthem played. At least, they had a little ingenious mass movement there. (That is where I found the Athens show lacking. All that negative space, i.e., not filled by performers, is deadly dull. The simple little demo here proves that you need to fill the field with bodies & movement and some sort of meaning.)

The Russian national anthem isn't the Internationale.

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The Russian national anthem isn't the Internationale.

Thanks for pointing that out. Was under the mistaken notion that it was the Internationale that they restored. BTW, apparently, those national anthem performers were also the Field Marshals. So they gave them double-duty.

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OK, looks like I've pinpointed the point now when the focus of the OC's creative direction changed from the initial "ice show" concept (which wasn't locked in stone), to a non-ice show but heavy on all that hanging stuff. It apparently changed when Putin put in (how about that for some alliteration, huh??? :) ) Konstantin Ernst as EP; relegating Scott Givens (who was the SOCOG's first choice) to just Major Consultant.

Here's the quote from The New Yorker article:

So when Ernst & team (Putin's choice) were put in place, it became a "flying" show, thus the concept changed from an open-air ice show, to a very prop-heavy, scenery-flying show. Which I think worked for the better.

Interesting to compare it to this report we had here back in October 2012

http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/10/18/russia-to-wow-with-olympic-opening-ceremony/

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Don't know if this has already been mentioned, but that ring that didn't open up was the upper right one - the one that is supposed to be red. The red ring is supposed to represent the Americas, so perhaps it wasn't a "malfunction"? Perhaps Putin was sending a message?

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Thanks for pointing that out. Was under the mistaken notion that it was the Internationale that they restored. BTW, apparently, those national anthem performers were also the Field Marshals. So they gave them double-duty.

Yep they restored the tune of the old Soviet anthem in 2000 but it's different to the internationale. Interestingly a reason cited was that the post -soviet anthem (which I quite like) wasn't inspirational enough for athletes. I remember hearing something about a Russian medalist in the 90s saying that they thought of and sang the old anthem in their head rather than the new one at their medal ceremony.

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Well, I found both London and Vancouver quite underwhelming. I thought Sochi was a huge improvement.

It's interesting to me the way some of these comments sound so jaded. It really was a very strong ceremony. Beautifully designed. Well-paced.

The rings were a sad accident that could've happened anywhere.

The cauldron was what it was. They couldn't have both the visible cauldron and the track for the show. It was either/or. I think they made the right choice.

The musicianship was exceptional and anyone who complains about the hymn must just dislike opera because her technique was flawless.

The only thing that kept the show out of the same league as Athens and Beijing was that it was not as innovative or artistically adventurous. It was a very accessible show.

A very strong opening to the Games.

I agree. I was also quite disappointed with London and rated it 7/10, but Sochi was an improvement and I'd give it a 9. I thought Sochi's ceremony was visually stunning and more cohesive than London's. Also it suited television viewers and was better directed for tv with some great angles like from the cars during the post-war period. This was also more classy and low-key than I expected but in a good way as with Russia there might be a risk of bombastic, near megalomaniac and tacky show. It might have lacked a bit of originality and there were some dull moments but I guess that's almost unavoidable with a show as long as this. The entrance of the athletes with the maps showing was nice although the empty benches behind didn't look that great, but that again might have been unavoidable with the athletes taking their seats there. Unlike many I actually thought the music was ok, nothing extraordinary but captivating enough. The girl felt like seen that been there but I found the countdown very beautiful although perhaps not that surprising and adventerous either. Overall a very good mix of on one hand traditional human mass ceremony and use of modern technology, and on the other humour and classic cultural elements.

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