Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes philosophical, sometimes warlike – the Opening Ceremony at the CHIO Aachen 2018 was colourful and full of surprises!
The partner country China presented a cultural, artistic and musical extravaganza in a class of its own in front of the crowd in the sold-out Main Stadium. 40,000 spectators enjoyed the open-air, floodlit show performance while the sun was setting. Around 250 horses and 1,000 participants, including many extras turned the 90-minute official opening event of the World Equestrian Festival into a wonderful evening.
But even before the German show-jumper Laura Klaphake and her Chinese colleague, Mei Mei Zhu – the only Chinese athlete competing this year – officially opened the CHIO Aachen 2018 with a brief speech, tribute was paid to an outstanding show-jumper: Hans Günter Winkler, who passed away at the beginning of July. A moving moment in the Main Stadium. A small remembrance ceremony for “HGW” will be held in the late afternoon on Wednesday.
Under the motto “Huanying China” (Welcome China) many different groups impressively conjured up the fascination of the partner country on the “Holy Grass”. Not only a kung fu show with 60 kung fu fighters, a “Yin & Yang” riding and dance choreography comprising of 100 riders and 100 dancers, the Terracotta Army as well as a lion and dragon dance were further items on the show’s agenda. Furthermore, the children’s choir of the Chinese School also made an appearance accompanied by the mezzo-soprano Sissi Qi Wang and 150 children holding Chinese lanterns. The music formed the background for a danced fashion show performed by the traditional Club of Chinese Scientists and Students, clad in traditional Chinese costumes.
The performance of the Chinese National Circus was one of the highlights of the evening. The artists amazed the crowds with vase juggling, diabolo, contorsion, handstand and Tai-Chi acts all performed on horse-drawn carriages decorated with Chinese lanterns. The drummers of the “Manao Drums of China” group also impressed the audience with strength, power and plenty of rhythm. They already opened the Olympic Games in Peking in 2008 with their drum roll, ten years later they opened the show at the Soers with their captivating musical choreographies. The crowning finale of the Opening Ceremony was a wonderful firework display that illuminated the evening sky at the Soers.