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The Opening Weekend

Program details

Coordinator:
Chris Baldwin

Three days of the Opening Weekend (15-17 January) with almost one hundred cultural events will inaugurate the celebration of Wrocław’s term as the European Capital of Culture. Tens of thousands will take part in the Sunday finale, the “Awakening”, one of the most numerous and spectacular parades in the history of the city.

 

Spectacular show with the city’s inhabitants
The Opening Ceremony for the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016, the “Awakening”, will take place on Sunday, January 17. On this occasion, the most numerous parade in the history of the region will start in four different places of Wrocław: the tram depots “Dąbie” and “Popowice”, the bus garage off the Grabiszyńska street and General Tadeusz Kosciuszko Military Academy of Land Forces on Czajkowskiego street. The four parades of Vratislavians and artists are going to make their way to the market square, with their routes totalling almost 20 kilometres. They will be led by four Spirits: the Spirit of Many Faiths, the Spirit of Innovation, the Spirit of Rebuilding and the Spirit of Flood, who will tell the city’s rich history in arranged scenery. The designer behind the powerful installations of the four spirits is a French visual artist, Philippe Geffroy.

The spectacular finale of the “Awakening” takes place after the four Spirits meet together in the heart of the city. On that occasion, the market square will undergo a complete transformation, as a result of which even surrounding buildings will become part of the set. The visual and musical programme prepared for the culmination of “Awakening” will surprise the audience not only with the scenery, number of artists and visual elements, but, most of all, the creative form of a show.
 

The script of the whole performance relies on combining the work of art directors, dancers, actors, musicians, performers with the active participation of the city’s inhabitants. The scale of this undertaking is expressed by figures; the opening ceremony amounts to over 1,300 artists, 200 choristers, 50 soldiers, 20 outstanding musicians, around 300 cyclists, 30 light installations, more than 1,300 costumes, 30 gigantic effigies and five trams. Directors of the show have prepared a whole gamut of surprises and artistic turning points. They do not disclose any details, hoping that the sense of surprise will stimulate the artistic impressions of the assembled audience even more.

The almost year-long preparations for the great event have engaged both Polish and foreign artists, hundreds of people working in formal and informal centres for culture, as well as members of local communities. However, the creators of the venture above all point to the active participation of Vratislavians, who have taken up the challenge and will consequently create the most numerous parade in the history of the city. “Please, help us tell the history of Wrocław, which, thanks to our joint participation in the January 17 parade, will transform the “Awakening” into an event of European scale,” summarises Chris Baldwin.

Opening Weekend with Xenakis and the pearls of world architecture
“Awakening” will be preceded by cultural festivities to begin on Friday, January 15. In the course of three days, there will be around 100 cultural events, so that every person is bound to find something of interest to them. The most important are a partially aural exhibition of the Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida’s works (in BWA Awangarda) and an exposition allowing to learn more about the pearls of world architecture, “Made in Europe. 25 years of the European Union Award in modern architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award” (in the Museum of Architecture, January 16 – March 13, 2016). One should also not miss the three-day Mercouri/Xenakis project consisting of concerts, an exhibition and a spectacle all devoted to the work of Iannis Xenakis, one of the world’s most important composers of contemporary music, and Melina Mercouri, a Greek actress and the author of the concept of the European Capital of Culture. Another event worth attending also is the Saturday project “Museum of Dreams” organised in the National Museum, in which the director Jacqueline Kornmüller, along with actors and dancers invited by her, has prepared nine chamber plays to be performed in front of selected works of art.

 „Awakening” – second movement of the Flow Quartet
The opening ceremony „Awakening” is part of a project called „Flow Quartet” by Chris Baldwin. It encompasses four spectacular happenings engaging the residents of Wrocław and telling the history of its cultural identity. The first, “Mosty” (June 2015), was the largest one-day performance in Europe attended by 22,000 people. 27 bridges of Wrocław were transformed into theatrical stages, concert venues and artist’s workshops. “Awakening” is the next part of the project and it will take place on January 17. The third is called “Flow”; it will concern the building, destruction and rebuilding of Wrocław and feature concerts, spectacles and happenings upon the Oder on June 11, 2016. The finale of the quartet, “Sky Web”, is the closing ceremony for the European Capital of Culture 2016 and the biggest artistic event of the year focusing on the history of Wrocław and rediscovering the city from the perspective of modern Europe. 

„Awakening” is the pièce de résistance of the opening ceremony for the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016. On January 17, tens of thousands will march from four districts of the city to the market square in the biggest parade in the history of Wrocław. Under the leadership of four Spirits- Many Faiths, Innovation, Rebuilding and Flood- they will tell the history of the city. The grand finale will take the form of a spectacular show in the market square. 

„Awakening” is authored by Chris Baldwin, curator of performance for the European Capital of Culture. The British performer is known in Europe for ventures created with big verve. He has directed, for example, a Celtic show on an area of ten hectares in Spain. He will carry out the project in Wrocław in cooperation with Philippe Geffroy, a French visual artist and the designer of the spectacular Spirits. The accompanying music is being prepared with the help of Paweł Romańczuk (from the band Small Instruments). On this occasion, 40 instruments were manually created as the Spirits’ attributes.

“Our goal is to engage in a dialogue between the past and the future of Wrocław led by artistic diasporas directly linked to its history- a melting pot of the Polish, the German, the Czech, the Ukrainian and the Israeli elements,” explains Chris Baldwin.

In order to metaphorically wake up the different parts of the city, a few kilometre parades along with the Spirits will meet at Rynek starting from four places: the tram depots “Dąbie” and “Popowice”, the bus garage off the Grabiszyńska street and General Tadeusz Kosciuszko Military Academy of Land Forces on Czajkowskiego street. Each parade will become an enormous artistic show. The opening ceremony amounts to over 1,300 artists, 200 choristers, 50 soldiers, 20 outstanding musicians, around 300 cyclists, 30 light installations, more than 1,300 costumes, 30 gigantic effigies and five trams. 

The opening ceremony „Awakening” is the second part of a project called „Flow Quartet” by Chris Baldwin. The first was “Mosty” (June 2015), attended by 22,000 people, when 27 bridges of Wrocław were transformed into theatrical stages, concert venues and artist’s workshops. “Awakening” (January 17) will be followed by “Flow”, an event featuring concerts, spectacles and happenings upon the Oder on June 11, 2016. The finale of the quartet, “Sky Web” (December 17, 2016), is the closing ceremony for the European Capital of Culture 2016, in which the Centennial Hall will host a spectacle with the European heritage of Wrocław in the leading role.

 

Contact:

Magda Kotowska
magda.kotowska@wroclaw2016.pl
+48 785 44 10 44

 

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