Between the Super Bowl hangover that many of us were probably feeling all week and Seattle’s snow day on Saturday, it might have been easy to miss the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Never fear, Soundposts has you covered with a quick recap of the musical highlights and we’ve even included some Youtube videos.
Yes, Sochi’s ceremony could never match London’s 2012 Summer Olympics in terms of spectacle, style or pop music heritage, but music still played a pretty big part in the event’s opening ceremonies.
Perhaps Russia’s best-known composer, Tchaikovsky, played a large part in the nearly three-hour ceremony, with pieces from “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” featuring prominently.
Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” also featured in to George Tsypin’s show. Tsypin, born in Russia and based in New York City, has previously worked on the complex Broadway adaptation of “The Lion King.”
Opera, long an important part of Russian culture, played an important, immediate role as an enormous Cossack choir sang arrangements from “Prince Igor,” an opera by Alexander Borodin. Below you can listen to the Polovitsian Dances, which were adapted for the ceremony.
Of course, pop music wasn’t completely left out of the equation. The faux-lesbian duo t.A.T.u. performed their hit single “Not Gonna Get Us.” The inclusion of t.A.T.u., who gained notoriety in the mid-2000s for kissing on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, was notable because Russia recently passed anti-gay laws banning “gay propaganda.”
Perhaps fearing what would happen to them, t.A.T.u. kept their Olympic performance PG as they played while the Russian athletes entered the stadium.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails