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Olympic stadium to become giant meadow for opening

London's Olympic Stadium will be transformed into a British meadow complete with fields, cows, ducks, a horse-drawn plough and a game of village cricket for the opening ceremony of this year's summer Games.

Film maker Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony which takes place on July 27, said on Tuesday he wanted to recreate a classic rural idyll for the opening scene of the three-hour event.

At either end of the stadium there will be "mosh pits" filled with standing members of the public.

One side will evoke the spirit of the Glastonbury music festival, a huge pop extravaganza held on a dairy farm in southwest England, while the other will reflect the Last Night of the Proms, an annual classical music celebration.

"It's a real meadow with real grass and real animals and it's actually something that we're very proud of," Boyle told reporters huddled around a model of the opening set for the ceremony.

"You begin with a certain kind of philosophy, which is, you think what were we, where have we come from, what's our heritage ... what are we now and where are we going?"

Boyle, an Oscar winner for his acclaimed "Slumdog Millionaire", said repeatedly that he was "bound to fail" in any effort to encapsulate the spirit of a nation with a single ceremony, but hoped everyone would take something away from it.

He also said that the rising urban population, and the problems of life in British cities, would be reflected. But there were few signs of that at a news briefing to unveil the look and feel of the ceremony.

"It (rural Britain) is real, it brings together all the four nations, it's something that is spread across all our lands, but it's also disappeared as well," he said.

"But it's also mythical. I think it's in our brains as part of ourselves, this ideal which is kind of like a childhood memory in a way. I think all of us in some degree are attached to it."

The four countries of the United Kingdom are represented with giant representations of their emblem flowers -- the rose for England, thistle for Scotland, flax for Northern Ireland and daffodil for Wales.

The Olympic athletes will walk around the meadow, made up of mini-fields separated by hedges and a river, and electronic group Underworld will provide the soundtrack.

The ceremony, which costs around 27 million pounds ($42 million) to stage, is titled "Isles of Wonder" inspired by William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest", and the opening scene unveiled on Tuesday is called "Green and Pleasant".

Expected to draw a television audience of more than a billion people, the ceremony will start at 9 p.m. local time on July 27th and is due to end at around midnight.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)