The opening ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday featured star-studded performances by some of the world's leading artists who belted out eight songs, including the UAE National Anthem which was performed by 11 renowned local, regional and global artists.
The performances was one of the main highlights of grand opening that was viewed by millions of people across the globe.
Here's how the evening proceeded:
>> Emirati singer, songwriter and actor Rashed Al Nuaimi kicked off the show with a rendition of the UAE National Anthem to welcome the world. A graduate from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Al Nuaimi has performed in theatres in the US and was also nominated for an Elliot Norton Award for best actor in a musical category. He also stars in the animated musical film Castaway that's set for release in 2022.
>> Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi followed next with the song Hay Bil Shahama. Originally written as a poem by the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the song is a tribute to those who have committed their lives to the service and betterment of the nation.
Al Jassmi has broken records in concert attendance and album sales. He enjoys some of the highest number of hits across his social media and YouTube channel, with a total of more than 1.7 billion views.
>> As the burst of fireworks from buildings surrounding the Al Wasl Dome illuminated the skies, popular GCC singer Mohamed Abdo and four-time Grammy winner, Angélique Kidjo, went on stage to belt out the beautiful song If You’re out There.
One of the most famous artists in the Arab World, Abdo is considered a musical treasure in the region. He is credited with preserving Middle Eastern musical heritage, and his songs are liked by people across generations.
>> As the performances continued, Al Jassmi returned on stage again to team up with US singer of Lebanese origin, Mayssa Karaa, and popular Emirati singer-songwriter Almas, for the Expo 2020 theme song This is Our Time.
Their act was followed by speeches by UAE royals and an official from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
Once the speeches were done, the ceremony continued with the performances. Ahlam Al Shamsi took to the stage to render In Dubai, in her pure, euphonic voice. Known as ‘Fananat Al Arab’ which means ‘The artist of the Arab world’, fans enjoyed her expressive, melodic, soulful and passionate song.
Next up was English singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, who mesmerised the audience with Anything Could Happen. Ellie has received two Grammy Award nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and two BRIT Awards.
>> Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day enlivened the proceedings with her soulful version of the song Rise up.
>> The night ended with a grand performance by Italian icon Andrea Bocelli who's sombre yet powerful rendition of The Prayer brought a perfect end to grand celebration.
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