由 於此前2008年北京奧運會的開幕式壯觀盛大﹐英國導演博伊爾此次承擔的重任可謂無人羨慕。博伊爾此前曾執導勵志影片《貧民窟的百萬富翁》 (Slumdog Millionaire)、《猜火車》(Trainspotting)以及經典僵屍電影《28天毀滅倒數》(28 Days Later)。
為完成這項艱巨任務﹐博伊爾為開幕式精心設計了一個開篇﹐其構思受到英國是“綠色宜人土地”(green and pleasant land)這一提法的啟發。“綠色宜人的土地”一語出自英國愛國歌曲《耶路撒冷》(Jerusalem)的歌詞﹐英國詩人威廉•布萊克(William Blake)是歌詞的作者。博伊爾希望通過開幕式演出捕捉到英國的關鍵元素﹐其中包括豐富的歷史﹐當代文化﹐有趣的幽默感以及總能盛產搖滾明星這一特點。
出 席奧運會開幕式的政要包括美國第一夫人米歇爾•奧巴馬(Michelle Obama)和英國首相卡梅倫(David Cameron)。開幕式定於倫敦當地時間晚上9點開始。博伊爾和其他人此前已向卡梅倫簡要介紹了開幕式演出的情況。卡梅倫說﹐我認為演出的一兩個瞬間將 令觀眾感到震撼。
開幕式演出的第一幕是田園風光：板球比賽﹐真草舖就的草地以及活生生的動物﹐其中包括大約70只羊﹐12匹馬﹐各式各樣 的鵝及其它家養牲畜。預計接下來的幾幕分別是工業革命、英國的國家醫療保健體系以及英國數字時代的未來等。預計英國王室也會“出鏡”﹐開幕式上會播放在白 金漢宮(Buckingham Palace)提前錄好的一些片段。英國女王的發言人拒絕置評。
音樂也將在開幕式中扮演重要角色﹐其中既 包括作曲家愛德華•埃爾加(Edward Elgar)的作品﹐也包括電子樂隊Underworld的兩首歌。該樂隊因一首博伊爾電影《猜火車》(Trainspotting)中的片尾曲Born Slippy而名聲大噪。預計開幕式的最後一個節目是前披頭士(Beatles)樂隊成員保羅•麥卡特尼(Paul McCartney)領唱的大聯唱。
由 於這場盛會被戲稱為節儉奧運﹐再加上英國經濟處於50年來最嚴重的二次衰退之中﹐博伊爾沒有那麼多的預算﹐無法搞出像北京奧運會那樣的人海表演。參加北京 奧運會開幕式演出的舞者、打擊樂手和其他表演者共有約1.4萬人﹐其中9,000人來自中國人民解放軍。雖然中國沒有披露過北京奧運會開幕式的花費﹐但外 界認為應該是倫敦奧運開幕式的若干倍。英國對這場開幕式給出的預算大約是2,700萬英鎊(合4,200萬美元)。
儘管如此﹐博伊爾仍希 望讓自己執導的這場開幕式更溫暖、幽默且更具包容性﹐演出場地上設置了公眾可以站立的場區。開幕式將為部分人辟出一個“狂舞池”﹐這一設計靈感來自知名的 格拉斯頓堡音樂節(Glastonbury music festival)﹐而一個類似舞池的設計靈感則來自年度古典音樂會Proms。媒體將這兩個站立區稱為“狂舞和優雅舞池”。
For Openers, A Spectacle On A Budget
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle once made a film depicting London as a postapocalyptic wasteland overrun by virus-carrying zombies. For the beginning of Friday evening's Olympic opening ceremony, Mr. Boyle has something a bit gentler in mind: sheep, horses and geese.
Mr. Boyle, the English director of gritty films like 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Trainspotting' and the zombie classic '28 Days Later,' is the man who faces the unenviable task of following China's gargantuan spectacle that opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Part of Mr. Boyle's answer is an opening set for the ceremony inspired by the U.K.'s 'green and pleasant land,' a reference to the words of William Blake in the British anthem 'Jerusalem.' Throughout the show, his aim is to capture key elements of Britain, including its rich history, contemporary culture, playful sense of humor and propensity to churn out rock stars.
The challenge is to make a show that will appeal both to a British audience and the expected billion or more viewers around the world. Mr. Boyle last month said he knows he won't be able to please everyone with the show. 'You're bound to fail,' he said good-naturedly. But, he added, 'We'll try very hard not to.'
Among dignitaries due to attend the show, which is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. local time, are U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr. Boyle and others have briefed the prime minister on the show, which, Mr. Cameron said, will contain 'one or two moments I think people will find really spine-tingling.'
The first set is a pastoral scene: a cricket match, meadows covered in real grass and live animals─including some 70 sheep, a dozen horses and an assortment of geese and other farmyard stock. Later are expected to be tributes to the industrial revolution and Britain's state health-care system─as well as the nation's future in a digital age. Even the royal family gets a look-in with an expected prerecorded segment inside Buckingham Palace. A spokeswoman for the queen declined to comment.
Music also will play a prominent role, from composer Edward Elgar's 'Nimrod' to two pieces written by electronic band Underworld, who made their breakthrough after their song 'Born Slippy' was used in Mr. Boyle's 'Trainspotting.' The final act is expected to involve former Beatles member Paul McCartney leading a singalong.
Another set feature: a 27-ton bell whose chimes will open the ceremony and is inscribed with a quote from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest:' 'Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises.'
With this event dubbed the austerity Olympics─and with the U.K. in its worst double-dip recession in 50 years─Mr. Boyle wasn't going to have the checkbook required to match Beijing's waves of dancers, percussionists and other performers, some 14,000 in all, including 9,000 from the People's Liberation Army. While China hasn't disclosed how much it spent on the event, it is considered to have been many multiples of the roughly £27 million ($42 million) the U.K. has budgeted for its ceremony.
Still, Mr. Boyle hopes to make his show warmer, humorous and more inclusive, including areas of the set where members of the public will be able to stand. There will be a 'mosh pit' for some, a nod to the famed Glastonbury music festival, and a similar enclosure inspired by the annual classical-music concert series, the Proms. The media have dubbed the twin standing areas 'the mosh and posh pits.'
One challenge is hard to control: keeping 10,0000 Olympic athletes moving at a brisk clip as they savor their parade into the stadium. Says Mr. Boyle: 'they understandably want to take their time.'
London Olympics final countdown begins
The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is due to take place later after seven years of preparations.The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of a billion people.
The Olympic flame is heading along the Thames on the Queen's rowbarge Gloriana on the final day of the torch relay.
A mass bell-ringing took place for three minutes from 08:12 BST to mark the Cultural Olympiad. Big Ben chimed 40 times during the period.
Organisers have released a video clip giving a sneak preview of Oscar winner Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, featuring groups in colourful stage outfits dancing to Tiger Feet by 1970s rock group Mud and cyclists with wings pedalling along to Come Together by the Beatles.
In other developments:
- London taxi drivers who were to protest at Hyde Park Corner over their ban from using Olympic traffic lanes have been banned by the Metropolitan Police.
- About 60,000 people gathered in Hyde Park on Thursday night to see the final torchbearer light a cauldron in front of 60,000 people as London Mayor Boris Johnson wished the crowds a wonderful Olympics, and thanked them for their support
- The mayor of London has hit out at US presidential candidate Mitt Romney for comments suggesting Britain is not ready to stage the Olympic Games
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Olympics coverage online
Some 15,000 square metres of staging and 12,956 props will be used, and the event will boast a million-watt PA system using more than 500 speakers.The crowd of about 80,000 will include the Queen and a host of dignitaries and celebrities.
As late as Thursday night, Games organisers said that the ceremony had not sold out and tickets in the two highest price categories, costing £2,012 and £1,600 were still available.
Earlier, the torch relay is at Hampton Court Palace, where it wove through the famous maze before travelling down the Thames.
The final torchbearer of the 70-day relay will be 22-year-old basketball player Amber Charles, who played a key role in London's winning bid and who will carry the flame in front of City Hall and Tower Bridge at approximately 12:45 BST.
The relay ends late in the evening with the lighting of the cauldron during the opening ceremony but the identity of the person who will take on the honour remains a mystery.
The chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Dennis Hone, said he was thrilled the big day was finally here.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: "I suppose when you've been working on a project so long, you dream about this day coming, you want everything to be a fantastic success.
"When you look around at the park, you look at the venues, the 100 hectares of landscaping, the 2,000 trees, all the plants in bloom, it's looking fantastic. It's going to be a great day, it's going to be a great 17 days of sport."
The Queen and Prince Philip will host a Buckingham Palace reception for heads of state and government and an opening ceremony celebration concert featuring Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini will be held in Hyde Park.
And the sporting action, which officially began on Wednesday with the women's football competition, continues with archery at Lord's cricket ground.
More than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations will take part in the London Olympics.
Some £9bn of public money has been spent on staging the Games but PM David Cameron, who toured the Olympic Park on Thursday, has stressed the opportunity presented by the Games at a time of economic fragility.
"Let's put our best foot forward, we're an amazing country with fantastic things to offer. This is a great moment for us, let's seize it," he said.