For one night only on July 14th, a gargantuan spectacle will thrill audiences worldwide to celebrate aquatic sports’ finest. An artistic technical achievement co-created by French showmakers ECA2 and Hungary’s cultural hothouse Müpa Budapest.

It looked like mission impossible: to kickoff aquatic sports’ most prestigious biennial event with a splash to be felt all around the world. To create a live spectacle that would be equally stunning to the audience onsite as it would be to television and online viewers. The place? One of Europe’s most charming capitals, Budapest, with its emblematic Buda Castle perched majestically over the mighty Danube River.

But how do you improve on the timeless perfection of such a historic city, already recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site? How do you plug such a monumental technical set-up into the heart of a city that was never intended as an entertainment venue? This was the challenge facing the team.

Where water, history and sport come together

Faced with the task of creating the unforgettable, the teams got to work on the theme: The Memory of Water. Creative minds from Müpa Budapest took inspiration from the history of Hungary and their beloved city, drawing upon the eternal river Danube as a story thread of continuity and unstoppable energy. What better connection between the element of water and Humankind, to excite our anticipation for all the epic aquatic sports that will soon unfold?

An opening ceremony like no other, conjured up in record time

Going even further, ECA2 applied their unique technical expertise to “borrow” the Danube, channeling its waters to take a powerful starring role as choreographed jets, sprays, and ingenious mid-air water screens where fabulous projected video images leave each spectator breathless. Pushing technical capabilities further still, ten-meter-long flames dance amidst hyperactive laser effects, night-beating lightbeams, a heartstopping soundscape, fireworks and drones. Completely breaking the mold of other opening ceremonies, a mesmerizing troupe of more than 500 live performers, 220 volunteers and sportsmen interact with sophisticated multimedia technologies, merging innovative dance with a maelstrom of effects.

Budapest and the Danube transformed into a single vast theatre

Perhaps the greatest and most artistic feat of all is the ultimate piece of technical sorcery. For this one night only, the Danube, the Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge… it all becomes a single vast theatre, where projected images tell thrilling tales of old, and echo through the excitement of today’s sporting “rendez-vous”. Never before has the world seen an Opening Ceremony where a far-off cityscape defines the extravagant theatre limits, and offers such monumental depth of field for video projection and spectacular special effects. The massive scale and visual finesse are a stunningly unique combo.  All emanating from a floating stage right there on the river, occupying an overall area twice as large as an Olympic stadium. The floating set-up itself covers the equivalent of 3 football fields and presents its own special challenges: because despite high river traffic, the current and tide, projected video content being projected onto structures will cleverly compensate for any movement.

Never before has the wise old Danube reflected such beauty. It is a night to mark all our tomorrows.

Public Opening: July 14, 2017

Venue: Budapest, Hungary

Project Type: One-night Opening Ceremony

Project Development: 4 months

Show Duration: 120 minutes (protocol included)

Surprising Figures:

* Field of play: 200,000 m2, equivalent of 20 football fields

* 540 tons of equipment, 24 km of cables

* A floating set-up covering 8,000 m2 on the Danube (equivalent of 3 football fields)

* 500+ live performers, 220 volunteers and sportsmen

Team involved in the project: 200 people.
Executive Production by ECA2

Producer: Jean-Christophe CANIZARES

ABOUT ECA2: ECA2 is a France-based creator and producer of the world's most renowned spectacular multimedia shows. Universally recognised for its highly skilled teams, ECA2 has built an envied reputation in mounting worldwide ceremonies, and the most varied spectrum of events.

Over the past 30 years, ECA2 has successfully produced more than 60 major spectacles around the world. Historic one-off events have included opening and closing ceremonies for the Athens Paralympics and the 1998 Football World Cup in France. Among major permanent shows are notably the “Big-O show” for the 2012 Yeosu International Expo and “Wings of Time” in Singapore both recognised by the prestigious THEA Awards in Los Angeles.


Müpa Budapest is one of the best known cultural brands in Central Europe and one of Hungary’s most modern cultural institutions. It brings together the many and varied disciplines of the arts in unique fashion by providing a home for classical, contemporary, popular and world music, not to mention jazz and opera, as well as contemporary circus, dance, literature and film.

CONTACT PRESSE: – 01 83 75 80 71 –