A prancing troupe of ballet dancers, giant projections of a ship ramming through an ancient facade, an Italian starlet with a big bottle of bubbly, fireworks perfectly choreographed to Italian opera — why, the naming of Costa Favolosa on Saturday night had everything but a re-creation of a scene out of “Up.” Oh, wait … it did.
There was so much going at the ship’s black-tie naming ceremony in Trieste, Italy, that I don’t know where to start, except maybe the time it began: 11 p.m. Hey, folks like to do things late here.
Called a “Tribute to Beauty,” the festivities lasted about an hour and featured chatty blah-blah-blah by executives interspersed with moments of true beauty (hence, the name). In a press release, creative director Alfredo Accatino promised a “journey of excitement, music and images” — and the dude wasn’t kidding.
From the fete’s opening moments, held in the city’s lovely Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia, an invited audience of more than 1,500 and thousands of locals watched transfixed at an event that was more Olympic Opening Ceremonies than a simple ship-naming. It began with Turin composer-pianist Ludovico Einaudi — a Larry David doppelganger — playing an original tune, then featured in turns an actor intoning Charles Baudelaire’s “Hymn to Beauty from a blood-red-illuminated balcony, an absolutely jaw-dropping 3D projection of Favolosa barreling through a building wall and a tribute to the 150th anniversary of Italian unification (made somewhat psychedelic by the glow-stick-handled flags everyone was waving).
But it was the “aerial artist” suspended about 30 feet overhead by dozens of giant helium balloons who stole the show (right out of “Up,” right?). Workers crept through the audience grasping the contraption by tethers, allowing the woman to writhe and contort in sync to another Einaudi tune. Can’t lie: It was just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
By the time Italian actress Margareth Made (don’t worry — you don’t have to know who she is) christened the ship, which was sitting in the harbor a couple hundred yards away, it almost seemed anticlimactic. The fact that the wind had picked up and the temperature had plunked into the low 60s didn’t help. But leave it to Costa to end things with a bang, and a spectacular one at that: a post-midnight fireworks show that was ostensibly to celebrate Favolosa, but I couldn’t help thinking it was a nice way to start the Fourth of July weekend as well.
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