British warbler Sarah Brightman and leading Chinese singer Liu Huan will sing the main theme song for the Olympic Games during the Opening Ceremony on Friday, the Beijing organizers announced Wednesday.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony is the most hotly awaited show on the planet right now, but organizers are keeping as much under wraps about Friday’s gala event as possible, despite a controversial leak on Korean TV this week. The name of the song the pair will sing is being kept secret.
The event, helmed by top Chinese director Zhang Yimou, will “focus on the long history and beautiful culture of the Chinese people, and the new development after reform in China,” Zhang Heping, a director of BOCOG’s working group on the Opening Ceremony, told a news conference in Beijing.
“We are ready and we are excited. We are going to give the audience some great performances,” said Zhang.
The opening ceremony will be called “Beautiful Olympics” and it will be divided into two parts – “Splendid Culture” and “Great Times”.
15,000 people are expected to take part in the ceremony.
Performances will start at 5:45 pm local time, with the formal ceremony beginning at 7 pm. The show runs until 11.45 pm.
The actual formal opening of the Games will take place at 8 p.m. to capitalize on the maximum amount of “eights”, as the number is very auspicious in China. Hence the opening at 8 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the new millennium.
Nearly 100,000 people will watch the Opening Ceremony in the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium, with billions more expected to tune in worldwide to watch the extravaganza.
Athletes will enter the stadium according to “bihua”, which means the 205 countries will enter the stadium according to their names in Chinese characters, not in Western alphabetical order.
The flashes shown on South Korean TV showed stunning video of floating 3D humpback whales, kung fu fighters and trapeze gymnasts. In one segment, thousands of white cubes were moved by people to form waves suggesting the explosive growth of high-rise cities in China.
A giant green and blue globe can be seen. Large whales will figure, as will dancers dressed as ancient soldiers from the Tomb of Unknown Warriors. Lang Lang, the great pianist, is sure to figure, as is Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong-born multi-hyphenate.
The secrecy surrounding the opening ceremony has been so intense that design and production teams and the thousands of cast members have been required to sign confidentiality agreements. Breaches are said to be punishable by up to seven years’ jail.
Tickets for the opening ceremony, and the Games themselves, have sold out, but some tickets are being sold on the black market for 10 times their face value.