KOŠICE 20.01.2013 – The space adventure with a cultural message began! The Opening Show was magnificent, as promised by the organisers. Half an hour before the beginning of the show at 6.00pm, the city centre started to become crowded with people and the first sectors in front of the main stage were hopelessly full with still many minutes to go before the start.
Around 40,000 people left the warmth of their home and despite the sleet, they came to support their city which quite rightly obtained the prestige title of ECOC 2013. Just before the start, the shivering crowd was warmed up by the phenomenal performance by the magical Japanese drummer, Ichitara, with his traditional drums, and the multi-instrumentalist, Stroon. The artists from France also performed directly in the street. And then it all started! In a staged block representing a pulsing industrial impression of a city, Košice drummers, dancers, performers and parkourists from the Czech Republic and Slovakia performed under the direction of Róbert Nižník and Vít Halška. The fact that easterners also like rap was proven by rappers Projekt from Košice, who created a unique song about their city. This was its world premiere at this opening ceremony.
Greetings from space
After the first musical numbers, the Mayor of the city, Richard Raši, came to the stage: “I welcome you, people of Košice, I welcome you to the European Capital of Culture. I believe that you are ready to start our Planet Košice.” He then illuminated the symbol of the evening. A strong beam of light illuminated the Košice cultural crew: “We are waiting for our last instructions before the start. We obtained this award since there is great human, social and cultural potential here. We represent not only the whole city, but also Slovakia and the whole of Europe. Let Košice become the most progressive city in Slovakia. Long live Košice. Thanks for permission to start.” European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou didn’t hide her excitement about the city and wished the people of Košice all the best and sent a message to the European Parliament: “Don’t you dare reduce the budget for culture! Culture is particularly necessary in times of crisis. Let everybody know that we love culture.” The biggest surprise for everybody present was given by the astronauts. There was a greeting sent to the European Capital of Culture directly from space from the ISS.
The programme proceeded with fantastic performances and untraditional co-operations. Lovers of classical music were delighted by our opera singer, Michaela Várady followed by The Cubes, Stanica Projekt, Jean Valjean Orchestra, Under Kontrol, Chiki Liki tu-a and the Peter Bič Project. The programme also included folklore performed by Derevjanky and Šarišská Nátierka ensembles. Just before the start of the Košice Cultural Satellite, we would hear the ECOC hymn – Tribute to the City performed by Marián Čekovský, Nataša Džunková, Katka Knechtová, Lukáš Adamec and children’s choirs Pro Musica and Magnólia.
The countdown then started, enhanced by a spectacular light theatre and laser effects on the historic buildings. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – start! The Košice Cultural Satellite is already on its mission, accompanied by a pyro-musical show – fireworks so far unseen in Košice!
Košice has officially become the European Capital of Culture – Good luck!
Text: Eva Mikulová
Photo: Michal Bachura, Tomáš Bober, Miroslav Vacula