Opening to a soundtrack of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, as a young girl named Lubov (translated as ‘Love’) recapped some of the most exciting moments of the games. As three children, Lubov, Valentina and Yuri flew over a sea of hundreds of children dressed as waves, music from It’s a Wonderful Life filled the stadium, composed by Russian composer Dimitri Tiomkin.
The National Anthem of the Russian Federation was performed by 1,000 children from the Children’s choir of Russia, conducted by Valery Gergiev, accompanied by the Panrussian Orchestra, conducted by Yuri Bashmet. Bashmet returned to the stage just minutes later to perform a viola solo in a polka by Schnittke.
Singer Anna Netrebko, who performed the Olympic Anthem at the opening of the games, came back to the Fisht stadium to sing on a gondola suspended from the ceiling.
Rachmaninov also made an appearance, thanks to pianist Denis Matsuev who performed his Piano Concerto No. 2 as flames lit up the stadium. A further 60 pianos arrived on stage, played by men in white ‘composer’ wigs and tails.
Russia’s incredible ballet talents were put to good use with two stages representing the national theatres, the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky, with dancers performing to music from Scheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov. Khachaturian’s Waltz played as the stadium was filled by key figures in Russian literature, including Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekov.
Other non-musical highlights included an amusing throwback to the Opening Ceremony, where only four of the five Olympic rings displayed correctly; this moment was recreated by hundreds of dancers on the floor of the stadium.