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Expo ready for curtain-raiser

The first act of the opening spectacle starts with the building of the Tower of Babel


The countdown is on for the spectacular opening of Switzerland's national exhibition, Expo.02.

The ceremony - centred on four floating platforms on three lakes - is the work of director, François Rochaix, and if he delivers what the organisers are promising, Expo.02 will have a hard time living up to its grandiose beginning.

A monumental play in three acts, it is taking place simultaneously in four different locations across western Switzerland's "Three Lakes Region".

The "arteplages", as the platforms are called, will form the backdrop for this vast theatrical production, which is costing SFr15 million ($10 million).

Joining the 30 professional actors, 1800 stage "extras" and four orchestras, are a host of musicians, singers, fire-eaters, mimes, jugglers, swimmers and divers.

The event will be carried live on four of the country's six television channels. Around 280 television people, led by five directors, will use 32 cameras, eight broadcast trucks, three boats and a helicopter to try and reproduce the production on the small screen.


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