Over the last four years, approximately three million people have attended the more than 5,000 events – including concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions and festivals – that have been held throughout all 84 regions of Russia as part of the Cultural Olympiad, which has taken on a different theme for each year. It began in 2010 with the year of cinema, while 2011 was theatre, 2012 music and 2013 museums.
The finale of the Cultural Olympiad is being held in Sochi during the Winter Games, bringing together highlights of the previous four years at venues throughout the host city.
“We collected the most beautiful, the most outstanding events; numerous performance groups which represent popular songs, dances, the best theatre performances and art exhibitions,” explains Anna Pisarskaya, Sochi 2014’s head of culture.
With 144 events already taking place across the city during the Games, the programme has attracted thousands of Olympic fans.
“As of today, the number of spectators at these cultural events was 410,000 people,” says Pisarskaya. “So 410,000 spectators have attended the 27 various venues where these concerts, theatre performances and other performances take place. The repertoire is very diverse; it ranges from rock concerts that are taking place at the medals plaza to various folklore concerts that take place at various live sites.”
©IOC / John Huet
By the time the Olympic flame is extinguished in Sochi, approximately 5,000 performers will have participated in the Games-time cultural programme, including artists from 75 regions of Russia.
Among the highlights is the Winter International Arts Festival, directed by celebrated violinist and conductor Yuri Bashmet.
“Yuri drew up a very interesting programme, in my view,” says Pisarskaya. “You can see classical performances, you can hear and listen to classical music. Also, on top of that, very unusually for Yuri Bashmet, who is a representative of a classical music, there are events such as jazz bands and the Red Rock [popular music] concerts. So it is better to see than to hear it from me.”
With 410,000 people already flocking to these events, it’s clear that fans in Sochi are taking Pisarskaya’s advice and experiencing the Cultural Olympiad for themselves.