A glittering line-up of stars helped welcome the world to Expo 2020 Dubai, decorating an Opening Ceremony that will be remembered forever by the 3,000-strong audience, as well as the millions across the globe who tuned in to virtually view the eagerly awaited event.
With the golden ring – the inspiration for the Expo 2020 Dubai logo – raised to the trellis of the magnificent Al Wasl Plaza, the beating heart of the Expo site and the spectacular setting for the captivating ceremony, the most inclusive World Expo ever was officially underway.
In addition to music from some of the most influential artists on the planet and a beautiful live orchestra, a sensory overload of powerful visuals was beamed across Al Wasl Plaza’s dome, the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen.
More than 3,000 lighting fixtures, 1,000 speakers, 1,300 costumes and buckets of passion and emotion from each and every one of the 1,000-plus participating performers and volunteers also contributed to a one-of-a-kind spectacle of masterful artistic collaboration.
The flag of 192 participating nations, revealed via a domino effect as flags were opened one by one, was a proud and visually stunning moment that also signified a reawakening of the world.
It was celebrated tenor Andrea Bocelli who brought the house down, rounding off the night’s electrifying proceedings with one of the his all-time classics, The Prayer.
Before that, chart-topping British vocalist Ellie Goulding belted out a resounding, uplifting version of Anything Can Happen; Andra Day enraptured the audience with Rise Up; Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang wowed with his wizardry; and four-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo, together with renowned Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu, sang John Legend’s powerful Are You Out There?, with its potent lyrics imploring the world to join together.
Other highlights included the official Expo song, This Is Our Time, sung by Arab artists Hussain Al Jassmi, Almas and Mayssa Karaa, with Emirati singing sensation Ahlam Alshamsi completing the formidable regional line-up.
The artistic prowess of Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman’s all-women ensemble, the Firdaus Orchestra, comprising 50 musicians from across the Arab world, also proved a pivotal part of the ceremony’s inspiring journey.
Scott Givens, Executive Producer, Expo 2020 Opening Ceremony, who co-curated and co-produced the show with Franco Dragone, Artistic Director, said: “We picked artists that had songs that belonged in the ceremony and that tied in with Expo’s themes.
“Of course, we wanted to represent the world, we wanted to be plural and we wanted to reflect the diversity of our planet. I’m very proud of the combination of talent that we’ve brought together to do this and the way they’ve executed the story.”
A feeling of warmth, respect, togetherness and camaraderie was palpable throughout the celebration, which also demonstrated that the world is ready to re-embrace live events.
The stage is now set for Expo 2020 Dubai to host the biggest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever.