Dubai: The Al Wasl Plaza bathed in a deep ocean blue light welcomed the world to Expo 2020 Dubai. It was finally time, a moment in waiting after 2,864 days of relentless preparation, to take everybody into the UAE’s vision for a global future - a perfect blend of sustainability and technology.
Doves, falcons, blue whales, clouds, flowers, waterfalls and butterflies floated everywhere to music from the all-women Firdaus orchestra that was both rousing yet offered you a sense of peace. An oasis of hope after the world’s raging battle with the pandemic. The finale everybody’s been waiting for.
The national anthem, ‘Ishy Biladi’, sung by Rashed Al Nuaimi and the raising of the national flag, was followed by Hussain Al Jasmi performing his welcome song ‘Marhaba Ya Hala’. Children danced, acrobats twirled on stilts while giant oysters filled the main stage. Ocean and forest life were manifest in the projections and displays, with blue whales floating across the roof the dome and giant butterflies scattered as a young girl walked towards a future that connected all humanity, carrying a version of the official golden logo of the Expo 2020 Dubai - ‘Saruq Al Hadid’
A fairy tale came to life in a 3D-driven imaginarium that transported everyone into a world that every child should be able to inherit. As Ellie Goulding, draped in Grecian white sang ‘Anything Can Happen…’, because tomorrow can bring new challenges but humanity “…will rise… a thousand times again”, in Andra Day’s song underlined the indomitable spirit of humanity.
Chinese virtuoso pianist Lang Lang, who performed a sublime piece by Hungarian composer Franz List.
The evening ended with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s final performance ‘The Prayer’, that asked for the world to be led to a safe place. Central to that was the UAE’s national tree – the ghaf, a symbol of tolerance.