Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai opening ceremony: What you will see, hear and experience tonight

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 30, 2021

Over 900 performers to deliver unforgettable multi-sensory experience

The spectacular opening ceremony of Expo 2020 held tonight at Al Wasl Plaza with over 900 performers and musicians promises to be a multi-sensory journey.

Kate Randall, Vice-President – Ceremonies, said the 90-minute opening ceremony at 8pm is divided into three segments, each around 30 minutes.

"There is a pre-show that starts at 7.30pm. It is an ideal opportunity for the viewers to see how we are building up to the show," she said.


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The first act

The first segment of the main ceremony will see guests being introduced.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary-General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), will then take the stage and tell the story of how the UAE was selected to host Expo 2020.

The AR Rahman-mentored all-women Firdaus Orchestra will play the BIE Anthem.

With the announcement of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, the true spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai will officially open to the world.

"Then we welcome the 'Flags of Nation' - all of the participating nations in Expo 2020 - and we have an official headline performance to welcome everybody," said Randall.

Acts two and three

The ceremony will then symbolise what is to come over the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, encompassing Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.

The spectacular entertainment programme will come alive with the sounds, songs and experiences of 192 country pavilions. Visitors will be taken on a universal journey of unity between the past, present and future — a voyage of hope, invention and collaboration.

"We have 11 headline performances throughout the entire show, right from the start through most of the segments to the end," said Randall.

International stars participating in the ceremony include famous opera singer Andrea Bocelli, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, famous Chinese pianist Lang Lang, artist Angelique Kidjo, and singer-songwriter Andra Day.


>> Expo 2020 Dubai: Line-up of stars for grand opening revealed

"It is really multi-sensory. I think, sometimes you're not quite sure where to look, whether you're looking up at the projection, you're watching performance on the main stage, or the ceiling and props … all around the pathways … it is magical."

Practice makes perfect

Randall said the cast for the 90-minute opening show is made of 900 performers selected after conducting 42 auditions.

She said a lot went into building the show and the teams have been on the site rehearsing for many months.

"We conducted two full dress rehearsals over the course of last week. So, everyone is very excited to be here - now that we finally have the big day," said Randall.


Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.

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