The Baku Olympic Stadium, which was built for the first European Games, is now packed. The facility has been transformed into an enormous theatre space equipped with a state-of-the-art projection system. The stage design – an interlaced pattern of circles forming a central hexagon in tribute to the extraordinary geometric designs characteristic of Islamic art – features two minarets, each 28m high.
The vast screen (85m wide by 35m high) is filled with rich video content developed over many months – from hyper-real animations to stunning cinematic sequences.
More than 5,000 people from 31 different countries have helped make the Baku 2017 Ceremonies a reality, including production staff, technical crew and cast.
The Ceremony is brought to life by 2,200 volunteer performers from Azerbaijan. They are joined on stage by more than 40 animals – horses, camels and donkeys. The music to be heard in tonight’s Ceremony – performed by more than 100 world-class musicians – features works written by more than a dozen Azerbaijani composers, including the legendary Uzeyir Hajibayli, Fikret Amirov and Gara Garayev.
Two world-renowned performers from Azerbaijan will be with us in the Stadium this evening: mugham vocalist Alim Qasimov and percussionist Natig Shirinov.
Azerbaijan is hosting another high-profile international sporting event as the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games are set to begin in minutes.