SOCHI, Russia – Sochi let its hair down on Sunday at a rollicking end-of-games Olympic party celebrating Russia’s spirit and culture through the country’s rich heritage of music and art.
The packed Fisht stadium on the Black Sea coast was in high spirits after the home nation earlier topped the medals table.
In a light-hearted reference to an embarrassing hiccup in the opening ceremony when one of the illuminated Olympic rings failed to open, hundreds of glittering performers formed four big rings and a small one, which then opened up.
The host nation’s gold medallists brought the Russian flag into the roofed stadium and stood while Valery Gergiev conducted a choir of hundreds of children singing the national anthem.
In a show themed “Reflections of Russia”, a Marc Chagall fantasy world of brides and fiddlers, clowns and acrobats, children and animals came to life in a scene inspired by one of his paintings.
Pianiast Denis Matsuev played part of Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto while a further 62 pianos whirled around the stage before ballerinas from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky (Kirov) ballet companies took on roles including legendary dancer Anna Pavlova.
Twelve studios then showcased the country’s most treasured novelists, poets and playwrights at their writing desks — the likes of Chekhov, Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn.