Evaluating the Olympics Opening Ceremony

Posted by Ron Nicynski on Aug 15, 2016 4:48:42 PM
Ron Nicynski

Just 11 days ago, the Summer 2016 Olympics aired its opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! The ceremony featured great theatrical productions, music and dancing, as well as brilliant digital video mapping and light displays.

Photo: BizBash.com via Julian Finney/Getty Images

Our Senior Director of Events Strategy and Development for XMP, Ron Nicynski, graded the ceremony for a recent BizBash article:

“Overall, the show's blend of simple materials and digital video mapping, with a reliance on the choreography and artists onstage, was very tastefully done. The ceremony ‎felt genuine—with Brazil likely wanting to show the world what the Games symbolized to their country. The smaller budget still had a dramatic impact, especially when delving into the country's varied and volatile history through movement, lighting, and sound. I especially appreciated Fernando Mereilles' incorporation of different art forms into a singular experience: theater, dance, cirque, film, fashion, culture. 

The most memorable parts for me began with the mylar-material dancers, as much a synchronized swimming act as anything—very minimalistic, set the tone for the entire show. The incorporation of water at the start seemed to me an almost cleansing moment for the event as a whole, considering the fears and anxiety leading up to [opening night] and these Olympic games. From there, I enjoyed the interweaving of the strings by the native inhabitants, the building jumpers on the digitally enhanced ‘city,’ and the diverse music used throughout the production to represent the various cultures and history of the country.

Gisele’s catwalk felt flat and forgettable. The middle of the ceremony’s focus on the history of dance and music was non-cohesive and felt forced. This should have been one of the most invigorating and fun parts of the production, but instead I wasn't emotionally engaged or moved at all. 

The step back to a simpler time of physical theatrics felt refreshing when compared to some of the most recent productions. So many modern Opening Ceremonies have relied on heavy production, technology, and pyrotechnics that the history and culture of host nations have seemed almost inconsequential to the entertainment value and ‘wow’ factor. Against the landscape of recent volatile political activity across the globe, the Rio ceremony focused more on the people and the art form versus the politics, and that felt appropriate at this juncture in time.

The smaller cauldron compared to years past was unexpected, but it was an impressive design and still served a dramatic purpose. The reasoning for the smaller cauldron was also well thought-out.

Rio is so world-renowned for Carnival that I would have liked to see more traditional Carnival costumes—large, overstated feathers and head pieces—and entertainment during the diverse musical section in the middle of the program.‎ This was a lost opportunity to create an energy and vibrancy that the show was lacking. The finale also felt more like a repeat of years past when there was a chance to be original and creative.”

Overall, Ron graded the opening ceremony with a B+.

To read the original article, which features reviews from other industry professionals, visit: http://www.bizbash.com/rating-the-rio-olympics-event-producers-give-opening-ceremony-a-b/new-york/story/32623/#.V7Ih6fkrJpg!

What did you think of the opening ceremony? Comment below!

Topics: Creative, Events, Technology, Production