Rio opening ceremony to break with opulent traditions

Tue Aug 2, 2016 7:35pm EDT
 
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By Karolos Grohmann

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Rio de Janeiro Olympics opening ceremony on Friday will break with the recent tradition of large-scale and expensive shows, featuring a low-emissions cauldron and an "analogue" experience, executive producer Marco Balich said on Monday.

With four days to go until the first Games in South America get under way, Balich told Reuters the show at the Maracana stadium was tailored to the current economic conditions in the country.

"This is not an opulent event given the situation in Brazil," said Balich, who has been involved in several past Games ceremonies, including the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Brazil is suffering its worst recession since the 1930s with Games organizers struggling for cash and racing to finish venues and infrastructure projects days before the global showpiece event starts.

"It does not have the grandiosity of Beijing, the huge special effects of Athens, the eccentricity and technological skills of London. It is an analogue opening ceremony," Balich said.

The show, expected to cost about half the $42 million spent by London in 2012, is based on the themes of sustainability, the Brazilian smile and "gambiarra", the ability to keep functioning with makeshift fixes.

"Brazil has the last big garden (the Amazon rainforest) of the world. We need to take care of this garden and we tried to share this message, a message of hope," Balich said.

"It is a very contemporary ceremony. Even without special effects it talks to people about the future. In a very humble way. It is not a display of how good or modern Brazil is."   Continued...

 
An aerial view shows the Christ the Redeemer statue with the Maracana stadium, where the opening cermony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be held, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/Files