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Sochi Russia 2014 Winter Paralympics Games Opening Ceremony


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Great opening ceremony, another Para ceremony where I'm pleasantly surprised.

I guess for many , this was the incorporation of the firebird concept that they craved so much for in the opening ceremony. It certainly worked here, and loved the playful videos following the journey of the bird.

Perhaps the storyline was weak, but I was quite happy to see a more traditional opening ceremony for a change.

Good re-use of the led forest, it worked well here yet again.

Greta performance of Yulia, lovely to see the show of real emotion, and certainly the light projection at the end of that was stunning.

Ice breaker was spectacular, so much detail too, fantastic.

Cauldron lighting, bit disappointing to see that it was exactly the same as the Olympics.

While the final firebird video worked fantastically in to the reveal of the first torchbearer, it is a shame they couldn't find a way to integrate the firebird more in to the actual lighting.

I guess all we got was a different angle of the cauldron lighting.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the transition of the final stages of the relay, and was fantastic to see all the performers extending out of the stadium, alot closer to the cauldron than at the Olympics. Made it feel alot more cozy and less lonely for those final torch bearers.

All round , a great effort from Sochi. Certainly put Vancouver's effort to shame.

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London lighting the cauldron was a let down in both the Olympics and Paralympics Gamesand the cauldron is also a let down in London too no legacy for the city of London while the Sochi cauldron is outstanding and a nice line of fire up to the cauldron, London was very lazy when it come to the cauldron, I really liked the Opening Ceremony of both Sochi Russia Games top class ceremonies it will be interesting to see the Closing Ceremony in 8 days time.

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Well, the way you judge a cauldron lighting is obviously a pure matter of taste. I for one found Sochi's repeated "empty parking lot, lighting a fuse of fire "fountains" up the cauldron, authentic flame doesn't even touch the fuse, let alone the cauldron itself" lighting method surprisingly boring for ceremonies into which so much effort and money was put. They could have had such a lighting method already in the 1980s. The only improvement compared to the Olympic cauldron lighting was that the final torchbearers didn't have to run that long across the "empty parking lot" this time, the community cauldron which was lit by them was obviously located much closer to the stadium than the Olympic community cauldron was. Not an improvement in my view was the accompanying music - Stravinsky's Firebird from the Olympic OC was hard to beat probably, but ironically, it would have fitted much better this time due to the firebird theme throughout the Paralympic OC. So can one say that the Paralympic OC team got practically screwed because "Firebird" was already used as cauldron lighting music by their Olympic OC colleagues? ;)

Furthermore, I've seen only parts of the Paralympic OC yet, but I'm surprised that they had lots of classical music and ballet yet again. Not that I dislike Russian classical music and ballet, but it sure gets repetitive from ceremony to cremony. I think it wouldn't be much of a surprise if we heard and saw classical music and ballet yet again at the closing ceremony one week from tomorrow.

The ice breaker sure was stunning - and I had to think of the Peter the Great battleships that allegedly should "sail" by air into the Olympic Stadium for the Olympic OC, due to the original plans. So the ice breaker segment showed what could have been possible at the Olympic OC as well, even if that one was already pretty "flying props"-heavy.

Nice to see the return of the LED forest, but I don't think it worked extremely well during the parade of nations. It blocked the view of the teams whenever they showed a general view of the infield with the ramp. It was a nice idea, though, to display each nation's flag on those LED rods. And the moment the sole Ukrainian athlete entered was remarkable, but also somewhat awkward. The huge cheer by the audience, even if it might have been meant cordially in fact, felt exaggerated like "Oh look, what we Russians accomplish - we invade another country, and nevertheless, it takes part in our opening ceremony. Oh, wait... Is that only one sole athlete who doesn't even smile or wave? Well, WHATEVER!!!" The appearance of a sole athlete sure was a bold statement by the Ukrainian team - and judging by the expression on the face of that athlete, I wouldn't have been surprised if he had simply flipped the bird into the TV camera or towards the audience.

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London lighting the cauldron was a let down in both the Olympics and Paralympics Gamesand the cauldron is also a let down in London too no legacy for the city of London while the Sochi cauldron is outstanding and a nice line of fire up to the cauldron, London was very lazy when it come to the cauldron, I really liked the Opening Ceremony of both Sochi Russia Games top class ceremonies it will be interesting to see the Closing Ceremony in 8 days time.

There are many issues I have with London's ceremonies - but to call its cauldron lazy is utterly childish and simply wrong (if I may say so).

London's lighting sequence was stunning and moving. Sochi's was deadfish by comparison. Sure it was bold and looked more impressive during the Olympics - London's heart heart and looked beautiful.

I think this emotion is where OWG cauldron lightings have lagged in the past decade or so. Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and London were fully charged --- whereas Sochi, Vancouver and Turin all focused on larger cauldrons but lacked spirit.

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OK, quick thoughts on watching the online catch-up.

Icebreaker- oh yes, oh very much yes.

Cheeky virtual implementation of Beijing's printing-block concept in the floor projection.

Speaking of cheekiness and ceremonial ships: eat your little hearts out Annie Lennox and Rihanna!

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There are many issues I have with London's ceremonies - but to call its cauldron lazy is utterly childish and simply wrong (if I may say so).

London's lighting sequence was stunning and moving. Sochi's was deadfish by comparison. Sure it was bold and looked more impressive during the Olympics - London's heart heart and looked beautiful.

I think this emotion is where OWG cauldron lightings have lagged in the past decade or so. Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and London were fully charged --- whereas Sochi, Vancouver and Turin all focused on larger cauldrons but lacked spirit.

Absolutely agree the cauldron lighting was stunning in London - it's just let down by the eventual resting place of the cauldron. Sochi has the opposite problem - a brilliant location for the cauldron but no effort at all in the lighting of it. The firework or multiple flame approach is as lazy as someone just lighting it directly. There were definately better options where they could have lit it in the stadium and the flame travelled out of the stadium, like they did at the Universiade a couple of years ago.

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Just saw it yesterday. Yes, it was a good ceremony but really using the left-over ideas of the Big Bro O's. A couple of things...

- yeah, Ballet again? And obviously these were all the little girls of the local schools who got left out of the regular O's casting.

- I liked the colors of the Ice Fishing ballet. Reminds me of the opening sequence in FROZEN where it shows the men hacking away at the frozen lake so they could get their blocks of ice to sell. It was a great sequence in the film!

- I thought the ice-breaker was "over-kill." Such a huge, realistic prop for only one performer? And then for the ice to break away and reveal MIA, the name of the int'l Space Station, meaning PEACE, and to stare the Great Leader in the face?? :blink: It was so hypocritical.

- Loved the realistic costumes of all the Chekov-era characters showing the last golden days of the privileged class of imperial Russia.

- Am so tired of all those "flying fairies, birds, etc." So Beijing.

But the oddest thing was they barely used the trap doors, what with 18 of them and they were never used?

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I mostly liked the ice-breaker sequence, probably one of the bests if not the best use of props on these ceremonies. The fishing ballet sequence was beautifuly made and I liked the song on it. However the first ballet before the entrance of athletes was a bit boring and long.

One of my favorite parts was the wonderful hand drawn animation with the Firebird through the ceremony, and specially at how it merged with the arrival of the torch (I wish they had used this idea on the big O ceremony). Also, was that Ian McKellen giving that flame monologue? :blink:


Curious that they used the London 2012 version of the Paralympic Anthem. I guess they were lazy doing their own arrangement.

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London lighting the cauldron was a let down in both the Olympics and Paralympics Gamesand the cauldron is also a let down in London too no legacy for the city of London while the Sochi cauldron is outstanding and a nice line of fire up to the cauldron, London was very lazy when it come to the cauldron, I really liked the Opening Ceremony of both Sochi Russia Games top class ceremonies it will be interesting to see the Closing Ceremony in 8 days time.

Londons Cauldron legacy was a gift to the world. What is the point of a cauldron standing there forever more like a relic of a past glory. Un lit they look so sad. The point of Londons was that it existed while the games were on after the world and petals had come together, then as the games ended, it came apart. No there isn't a cauldron for you to come and have your picture taken with in London. Thats the point, the games have moved on, so has the flame, so has the cauldron. I don't understand how people can be so negative over such a great piece of creativity. I would go for creativity over 'look at the size of my massive' cauldron anytime

Best thing of the ceremony was the marching group, that was fantastic

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Londons Cauldron legacy was a gift to the world. What is the point of a cauldron standing there forever more like a relic of a past glory. Un lit they look so sad. The point of Londons was that it existed while the games were on after the world and petals had come together, then as the games ended, it came apart. No there isn't a cauldron for you to come and have your picture taken with in London. Thats the point, the games have moved on, so has the flame, so has the cauldron. I don't understand how people can be so negative over such a great piece of creativity. I would go for creativity over 'look at the size of my massive' cauldron anytime

I agree. Beijing's, Vancouver and Sochi's cauldrons all look so massively lost and forlorn, just standing there as a reminder of past days of glory. Of course, they do provide some minimal value to part-time caretakers & custodians.

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I mostly liked the ice-breaker sequence, probably one of the bests if not the best use of props on these ceremonies. The fishing ballet sequence was beautifuly made and I liked the song on it. However the first ballet before the entrance of athletes was a bit boring and long.

One of my favorite parts was the wonderful hand drawn animation with the Firebird through the ceremony, and specially at how it merged with the arrival of the torch (I wish they had used this idea on the big O ceremony). Also, was that Ian McKellen giving that flame monologue? :blink:

Curious that they used the London 2012 version of the Paralympic Anthem. I guess they were lazy doing their own arrangement.

According to the British commentators, the animation wasn't just hand-drawn; each frame was supposedly a separate painting (which I kind of doubt, but you never know).

On the anthem- we've already seen Sochi using pretty much all the relevant anthems recorded for 2012, apart from the Olympic Hymn, which was notoriously presented as a minute of choral silence in London.

Thinking more about the Sochi OCs, it looks as if there were some tensions between the OG and PG ceremonies. The Para icebreaker explains the curiously flat look of the "Peter the Great" sea projection sequence in the Olympic OC- it was evidently decided not to use any flying props for fear of lessening the icebraker's impact. And it looks as if both OCs politely chose not to make a huge drama of the shared firebird concept, with the result that neither did it justice.

As for the first ballet- that was basically a small section of an actual classic full-length ballet. Will the YouTube "100 seconds to thrill" mentality eventually kill long-form performance art?

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On the anthem- we've already seen Sochi using pretty much all the relevant anthems recorded for 2012, apart from the Olympic Hymn, which was notoriously presented as a minute of choral silence in London.

Sochi also used the Olympic Anthem arrangement from London's opening ceremony in its own closing ceremony. And I didn't mind that - I thought it was actually a clever idea to "recycle" London's meticulously and expensively produced national and Olympic anthem recordings. Isn't that even part of the Olympic programme for a share of knowledge (and even material) between previous and current Olympic hosts? I ask myself why one should re-record 204 national anthems each time Olympic Games take place. And regarding how much money Sochi and Russia have already paid for "their" Games, I can only commend them on cutting back at least on anthem recording costs. PLUS: They at least had their own arrangement and strong original performance of the Olympic Anthem in the Olympic opening ceremony, with the anthem being sung by Anna Netrebko. So it's not as if they were completely "lazy", as Ikarus has put it.

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Sochi also used the Olympic Anthem arrangement from London's opening ceremony in its own closing ceremony. And I didn't mind that - I thought it was actually a clever idea to "recycle" London's meticulously and expensively produced national and Olympic anthem recordings. Isn't that even part of the Olympic programme for a share of knowledge (and even material) between previous and current Olympic hosts?

Yup, somebody commented during the Olys that that was indeed the case.

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Altho I think Ikarus noted that Netrebko's version of the Olympic Hymn is that same version as used in Moscow 1980. Or was it just the use of the same Russian lyrics? I never pay attention to the arrangements of the anthems and hymns. To me, they're kinda all the same.

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Altho I think Ikarus noted that Netrebko's version of the Olympic Hymn is that same version as used in Moscow 1980. Or was it just the use of the same Russian lyrics? I never pay attention to the arrangements of the anthems and hymns. To me, they're kinda all the same.

No, the musical arrangement for the Olympic Hymn in Moscow sounded wholly different, a lot more bombastic and much slower, with a massive choir. Here it is (at 9:48):

And I haven't compared that yet, but the lyrics between Moscow's and Sochi's (Netrebko) versions probably are the same indeed.

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^^ The Moscow 1980 arrangement sounded a bit more military to me. This new one was a bit faster and simplier, but it used the same lyrics done for the 1980 games.

Also i've found more info about the animation segments. They were done by Aleksandr Petrov, the guy who did the animated short "The Old Man and the Sea", based on the Ernst Hemmingway novel of the same name.

It won the Academy Award in 1999 for Best Animated Film, and he's well known in and outside Russia for his paint-on-glass animations.

I feel tempted to make animated gifs of those ones :lol:

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