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Global and regional superstars to open Expo 2020 Dubai

The National logo The National 19/09/2021 The National
a person standing on a stage: Ellie Goulding is among the headline acts. Cedric Ribeiro / Getty Images © Provided by The National Ellie Goulding is among the headline acts. Cedric Ribeiro / Getty Images

An array of world-famous classical, popular and regional musicians will star in Expo 2020 Dubai's opening ceremony on Thursday 30 September.

Opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Golden Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day, platinum selling British pop-star Ellie Goulding, Chinese pianist Lang Lang and four-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo will appear in the first performance in the massive Al Wasl Plaza.

An invited audience will also watch performances by regional artists including the ‘Artist of Arabs’ Mohamed Abdu, much-loved Emirati singing sensation ‘Fananat Al Arab’, Ahlam Alshamsi and Emirati artist and Expo 2020 Dubai Ambassador Hussain Al Jassmi, a trendsetter on the Khaleeji music scene in the Middle East.

Rising UAE singer-songwriter Almas and Grammy-nominated Lebanese-American singer Mayssa Karaa complete the line-up announced so far by the organisers.

TV audiences around the world are also promised a visually striking light and dance show, on a similar scale to the opening of the Olympic Games, with elements from the creative minds behind Cirque du Soleil.

The event has been choreographed by Scott Givens, executive producer and CEO of FiveCurrents, whose credits include 62 global events, including the most Olympic ceremonies ever.

Tareq Ghosheh, chief event and entertainment officer for Expo 2020 Dubai described the event as a "big bang".

“As the global spotlight shines on the UAE, this incredible, unforgettable evening will celebrate the collaborative, creative and optimistic spirit of Expo 2020, demonstrating our commitment to hosting a mega-event that will delight the world," said Mr Ghosheh.

“Combining some of the most sought-after names in the world of music, live events and entertainment with the awe-inspiring, world-first technologies of the iconic Al Wasl Plaza, this is the ‘big bang’ that sets the scene for 182 days of visually striking and emotionally inspiring experiences, as we invite visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world.”

The opening show will draw inspiration from Expo’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and its sub-themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability, and showcase the values of the UAE.

It will be staged in Al Wasl Plaza, a massive circular theatre including the largest immersive sound installation in the world and the world’s largest blended video projection installation. The choreographers have placed the audience at the centre of the event, and the revolving stage, light shows and immersive technology will come to life around them.

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