Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What did you think of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony?

So now that the Olympics are well under way, what did you think of the Opening Ceremony?

I was lucky enough to attend the final technical rehearsal last Wednesday, so had a sneak peek at pretty much everything that happened, minus the celebs and the Queen jumping out of the helicopter, of course.

At first, I was a little skeptical about the whole "English countryside" concept, complete with walking "clouds":

But I found myself very moved by the use of Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations to illustrate Danny Boyle's vision of the "Isles of Wonder". Audience participation was critical here, as you can see:

That part was fun. Apt and appropriate.

For those watching on TV, I could see how it might have been a little less-than-spectacular way to open the Games, but in the stadium, I can tell you that it was quite stirring and emotional - even for a dress rehearsal!

By the time we transitioned into the Industrial Revolution, I was hooked: the staging was jaw-dropping and more importantly, original. The dusky sky also provided the perfect backdrop, as seen below:

The culmination of this part of the program into the forging of the Olympic rings was spectacular:

Don't tell me you weren't impressed by that?! I think, at that exact moment, I felt really proud to be  Londoner. I thought of all the volunteers within the park and across London, and all those performing "on stage" that night (which included Lauren), and it made me little teary!

It wasn't without its flaws, I'll admit: the NHS bit was cute, but seemed forced. The giant baby's head at the end? Creepy and kind of reminiscent of those baby cake wrecks circulated via email a while ago. Just ... no. And, why?

Even ol' Duck-Face AKA Voldey AKA He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named made an appearance. I'm not even going to comment on "Tubular Bells" being chosen as the soundtrack for this part. If you're American who grew up in the 90s, that just stirs up bad memories of this particular CD (which I've just noticed apparently has only Part 1 of Tubular Bells - I can only imagine what joy Part 2 brings).

Let's just say that I thought the beginning was better than the end, though guest appearances by J.K.Rowling, Rowan Atkinson, The Queen, and Daniel Craig James Bond made up for it. I was also very, very pleased that Akram Khan (whom I blog about on here a LOT) and his company were chosen to close the ceremony, accompanied by one of my new favorites, Emeli Sande. It was a beautiful piece and Shame that NBC in the States cut his performance. Shame on them, really.

What did you think?


  1. I loved it! I also thought the beginning was better than the end, and I think I missed some references (not to mention missing the things NBC cut--it seems like I keep finding out about more of those). Oh, and the part about the Internet was confusing (we're texting and dancing to 70s music at the same time! because we are!). But overall, I found it both quirky and moving, and generally delightful.

    I'm happy they chose Caliban's speech for Kenneth Branagh to recite rather than the "sceptr'd isle" one from Richard II--I love that speech, but it would have struck the wrong tone, whereas "this isle is full of noises" evoked a sort of England-as-wonderland that felt right to me.

  2. Totally agree, Marjorie! You've hit the nail on the head. I also loved "this isle is full of noises" - it was jubilant and whimsical.

  3. I mean, Mary Poppins defeating Voldemort pretty much was the highlight of my geek life :)


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