Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad set for thrilling conclusion
The action-packed winter sports are not the only entertainment on offer for Olympic fans in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Away from the snow and ice, visitors to the Games will also be entertained with the best of Russian arts, ballet, music and theatre thanks to the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad.
The Games will mark the conclusion of the four-year Cultural Olympiad programme, 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.
Together they featured thousands of activities across Russia, which were enjoyed by more than three million people, according to organisers.
Sochi 2014 will host the finale of the programme, bringing together highlights of the previous four years at staging sites in Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana – the central hub of the mountain venues.
More than 5,000 artists from 70 regions of Russia will perform at numerous venues around the two Games centres, and many events will be free.
Games-time performances will include a ballet gala, throat singing from the Chukchi region in eastern Siberia, lezginka dancing from Dagestan and traditional Kuban Cossack tunes. The Sochi Art Museum will also feature an exhibition charting the history of sport in Russia and the favourite sporting pastimes of historical Russian figures.
"All 83 regions of our country were involved in the Olympiad, with people from all over Russia,” explains Anna Pisarskaya, Sochi 2014’s head of culture. “In each town and city we held different events and it all results in our final event. We will see a grand finale and everyone will be able to come here and attend our live sites during the Games.
"We will have six live sites in the city and the central one will be located in the Olympic Park where all of our main events are going to be held. One of the biggest sites will be located in the central part of Sochi in the southern mall and it is a beautiful location."
In addition to being held in an attractive setting, Pisarskaya promises a high standard of performer during the Games.
“Around 90 or 95% are professional teams, bands and companies who have rich experiences performing not just in Russia but abroad,” she says. “Many of the artists are world renowned."
Among the highlights of the programme will be an International Ballet Star Gala and the Winter International Arts Festival, directed by celebrated violinist and conductor Yuri Bashmet.
“There is an amazing festival we are organising,” says Pisarskaya. “It will be held in three venues - the winter venues, the Organ Hall and the cultural centre galaxy from 6 to 20 February. A number of different concerts and theatre shows are going to be organised in there and you will be able to see the Russian stars who are going to be performing in the festival.”
Pisarskaya also has her own tip on which performances to look out for during the Cultural Olympiad event.
"I can recommend, as far as folklore is concerned, the Cossack choir,” she says. “There are 150 people on stage with beautiful voices, amazing costumes and singing beautiful songs."
As the Cultural Olympiad draws to a close, Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, believes the success of the programme has helped bring Russians together, as well as building excitement ahead of the Games.
“We are extremely pleased with how enthusiastically the people of Russia have joined in with the Cultural Olympiad, both as performers and as audiences,” he says. “You can see Russia’s creativity in action at numerous cultural events organised under the banner of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad. Every region is involved. The Sochi 2014 Games are truly uniting the whole of Russia in a great celebration of all things Russian, both sport and the arts.”