Sochi Olympics: Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake,' Stravinsky abound

The music of two of Russia's most famous composers -- Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky -- have figured prominently in the early days of the Sochi Olympics

At the team figure skating competition Sunday, Russia's Nikita Katsalapov and Elena Ilinykh brought down the house with their performance to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake." The ice-dancing pair displayed a good deal of acrobatic prowess -- they reportedly trained with Cirque du Soleil -- and their impassioned performance helped Russia win the gold medal.

Ilinykh wore an outfit reminiscent of Natalie Portman's evil doppelganger in "Black Swan" while performing at the Iceberg Skating Palace, where Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance. 

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"Swan Lake" also played a role during Friday's opening ceremony, with performers encased in abstract, iridescent costumes that suggested a long-lost sequence from Disney's "Fantasia."

The opening ceremony also featured selections from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" as part of a greatest classical-hits medley. A ballet sequence depicted scenes from Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

The diverse program also featured the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. and operatic soprano Anna Netrebko, the latter of whom performed the Olympic anthem. The final passages of Stravinsky's "The Firebird" helped the celebrations climax with a burst of pyrotechnics and national pride.


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