As preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games continue, the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad is already proving to be a huge success, engaging people in a wide range of cultural events in the build-up to the Games. The cultural programme began in 2010, four years before the Games are due to start, and incorporates thousands of different cultural events, which are being held both in the host city and throughout Russia.
"The Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad is a unique project", said Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee. "It includes both grand, large-scale set-pieces and events showing cultural life in Russia's various regions. Thanks to this, we are able to present to the world the ‘patchwork quilt’ that is Russia's rich and diverse culture".
Each year of the Cultural Olympiad has been dedicated to a different area of the arts, with 2010 focusing on cinema and 2011 being named the Year of Theatre. In 2012, attention will shift to music, while 2013 will be the Year of Museums.
Events include concerts, festivals, shows, films, exhibitions, and art installations, each offering the best that Russia’s cultural scene has to offer. The most popular events over the four-year period will then be performed during the Games in February 2014.
The Cultural Olympiad is a unique opportunity for everyone to take part in one of the most important cultural projects in Russia and is an integral part of the Olympic experience. The programme aims to promote Russia's unique cultural riches, involve all the Russian people in a grand celebration and, in 2014, present guests of the Games with the very finest cultural experience that Russia has to offer. This year, more than 800 events are being held, with more than half a million people expected to experience the traditional and modern performances on offer. Recent events in the host city have included the International Aqua Jazz Festival, a concert by the Kuban Cossack Chorus to mark its 200th anniversary and a performance by ballet stars from St Petersburg’s renowned Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky theatres.
"One of the main aims of the Cultural Olympiad is to bring together the best of Russian culture and demonstrate its value to residents and guests in the country", added Chernyshenko. "We can expect to see many more great premieres and original performances by distinguished artists and new names, showcasing tradition and innovation. We have some very exciting cultural activities to show the world and the Cultural Olympiad gives us the perfect opportunity to do so!".