Expo 2020 Dubai: Here is the story that was told in the 90-minute opening ceremony

Dubai - The star-studded opening ceremony saw the participation of world-renowned local, regional and global singers and celebrities


Waheed Abbas

Published: Fri 1 Oct 2021, 11:21 AM

Last updated: Fri 1 Oct 2021, 11:22 AM

Expo 2020 Dubai’s unforgettable opening ceremony, which was witnessed by millions of people across the globe, was held last night.

The star-studded opening ceremony that lasted nearly 90 minutes saw the participation of world-renowned local, regional and global singers and celebrities.

Following the UAE’s National Anthem performed by Rashed Al Nuaimi, 'Hay Bil Shahama’ was sung by the well-known regional artist Hussain Al Jassmi.

This song, originally written as a poem by the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was a tribute to those who have committed their lives to the service and betterment of the nation.

The golden ring of connectivity

As the opening ceremony progresses, we hear the voice of the Elder, speaking poetically of a young Emirati girl who represents hope for the future and the spirit of Al Wasl Dome at the Expo 2020 site.

Then, the participants arrive at the stage and famous Arab singer Mohamed Abdo sang John Legend’s 'If You’re Out There', singing the first verse in Arabic Arabic.

Hussain Al Jassmi, Mayssa Karaa and Almas took the stage and performed 'This Is Our Time', the official song of Expo 2020 Dubai. As the song built, a chorus of children filled in behind and around the performance.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s Commissioner-General Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan took the audience back to Expo 1970 Osaka, the UAE’s first presence at a World Expo.

After that, Dimitri Kerkentzes, aecretary-general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), told the story of how the UAE was selected to host Expo 2020.

Then came the moment the whole world was waiting for — Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, officially opened the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Following that, a moving prelude performance took place on the orchestra stage, featuring Ahlam Alshamsi, who sang ‘In Dubai’ in three languages, accompanied by the Firdaus Orchestra. The performers represented the light of equality celebrated in the UAE.

'We all follow the same star'

As the opening ceremony continued, around 115 ‘star performers’ carrying clear globes, internally lit with LEDs that change colour and intensity, performed on the stage. Around 15 professional skaters created movement throughout the scene.

Their light created intricate colours and shadows, opening people’s minds to new ideas, preparing viewers for a journey into the sub-themes of Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity. As they reached the centre stage, they shared their light, symbolising the opportunity to share our potential with one another.

Then, another shaft of light shone down on a piano. We hear the delicate tones of new hope on the horizon with a moving performance from Lang Lang, a leading figure in classical music today.

Following that, Golden Globe-nominee singer Ellie Goulding performed on the centre stage about dreams and inspiring each other.

Andrea Day then performed 'Rise Up', an inspiring song about the struggle — and triumph — of the human spirit.


>> Expo 2020 opening: Epic start to the weekend for UAE residents

>> Expo 2020 Dubai: Meet the creative team behind the grand opening ceremony

A final brilliant fireworks display shot out from Al Wasl, from the points of each of the three districts of the Expo 2020 site as the entire world witnessed the potential of humanity.

The final notes of the music rang out with a triumphant volley of fireworks to open Expo 2020 at the connecting point of Dubai... the UAE... and humanity – Al Wasl.

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