30 September 2021
A glittering line-up of Universal Music artists helped welcome the world to Expo 2020 Dubai
Watch the livestream of this star-studded event, as Universal Music Group artists Ellie Goulding, Andrea Bocelli, Lang Lang, Angelique Kidjo gather for the 90-minute performance, drawing inspiration from the Expo’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
Aside from the 3,000-strong audience inside Al Wasl Plaza, millions across the globe tuned in to virtually view the eagerly awaited event. With the golden ring of connectivity – 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.
It was celebrated with Maestro Andrea Bocelli who brought the house down, rounding off the night’s electrifying proceedings with one of his all-time classics, The Prayer, its lyrics of human connection crescendoing into the grand finale.
With more than 80 million albums under his belt, classical music’s biggest-selling living artist said that performing at Expo 2020 was a “great honour” and that his presence at Al Wasl “reflects all of the affection my audience has been giving me for many years and I hope to give it back”.
Andrea Bocelli said: “We have all gone through a year that no one could ever have imagined. For a year, we have lost the essentials, our freedom in and, in a sense, and even our dignity. Now we finally see the light and I hope that this event will also help to instil in everyone a sense of optimism, a desire to achieve and to put what has been behind us.”
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 If You’re Out There?, with its moving 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, while Emirati singing sensation Ahlam Alshamsi completed 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.