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Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019

"We Are All Colors" show has provoked mixed feelings


A glamorous show of sound and light on a stage next to 30-meter-high tower, made Plovdiv residents and guests of the city gather on the central boulevard of Plovdiv - "Tsar Boris III – Obedinitel". Despite the cold weather, the opening event of European Capital of Culture - Plovdiv 2019 attracted about ten thousand people (according to police data), who came to "immerse" in the atmosphere of the festivities. Hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians in the country and abroad also watched the show on their TV screens.

Plovdiv truly has a lot to show - rich ancient past, preserved beautiful architecture, art scene... Many viewers expected to hear and see the things that attract visitors and make them return again and again to the city.

In their attempt to present the cultural diversity of a modern European city, writers of the show script focused more on symbolism and unifying effects rather than on authentic Bulgarian rhythms. The "Thracia" folk dance ensemble under the guidance of Swiss theater director Gustav Rueb surprised spectators with a modern dance at the backdrop of techno music. Instead of Bulgarian folk costumes, the dancers were wearing colorful dresses resembling samurai clothing. Bulgarian folklore was heard in the beginning and at the end of the event, setting a frame for the multicolored show with the performances of famous kaval player Teodosii Spasov and beloved Bulgarian folk singer Valya Balkanska, whose voice is flying in space, recorded on Voyager's Golden Record.

The hills in Plovdiv, which are symbols of the city and are hinted at by the European Capital of Culture logo design, remained unseen in the darkness rather than being illuminated. The Antique Theater and not even the surrounding churches were included in the light show. On the other hand, the "Tower of Babel", as many jokingly called the spectacular stage, which provided space for over 1500 performers, looked like a disco party under the stars in which everyone was dancing and singing.

Many of the viewers said that they missed to see the spirit of Plovdiv, not because they were "haters" but because they had a different idea of ​​the cultural image of the city we all love. They had also seen the "Sound and Light" show in Veliko Tarnovo, where the beauty of the Tsarevets Fortress is seen in full brilliance. Presenting a fuller image of the city was what Plovdiv citizens and guests expected, as Plovdiv in the hearts of people is much more than what was seen.

The program of cultural events seems promising and despite problems plaguing the repairs of Cosmos Cinema and the concert hall, we all hope for success and believe in the ability of Plovdiv to host European cultural events.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: BGNES

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