Four Days to WEG Opening Ceremony

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Stage for the WEG Opening Ceremony. Photo courtesy Steffen Peters
Stage for the WEG Opening Ceremony. Photo courtesy of Steffen Peters

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Sept. 21–A cast of nearly 1,500 people, aged eight to 80, and almost 200 horses from as far away as Australia will take part in Saturday night’s World Equestrian Games opening with scenes of the prairie, Broadway, the Wild West, and the Deep South.

The show will journey through the history of horses and man as well as iconic moments in U.S. history and culture, beginning with America’s Native American heritage and a Prayer for All Nations by Lakota chiefs, and concluding with a Mardi Gras extravaganza that will see all cast members join together in a parade.

The 2 1/2-hour show will include 40 different acts, including Kentuckian Wynonna Judd; opera stars Denyce Graves, Cynthia Lawrence and Ronan Tynan; Sara Lee Guthrie; Cherryholmes; and Jazz at Lincoln Center among other notables.

“While the majority of our cast is ‘homegrown’ to showcase the talent bred in our Bluegrass region, this show will represent the global nature of the eight equestrian world championships,” said Dr. Everett McCorvey, executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies. “We have an international collaboration of talent coming together and communicating through their artistry.”

A “World Equestrian Games Fanfare” composed by Jamie Burton of London, England will debut at the opening ceremony with a 100-piece orchestra from the University of Kentucky.

Lyle Lovett will perform at the closing ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 10.

As a Texas native, Lovett breeds and raises quarterhorses for reining, competes non-professionally as a rider, and is involved in equestrian charity work. One of his horses, Smart and Shiny, is scheduled to be ridden by Italy’s Marco Ricotta in the reining competition.