The sea, the shark, the ball: the “Italian” opening ceremony of Qatar 2022

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“It’s the first time we’ve done a World Cup and it’s the first time that Qatar has done a World Cup.” It is enough to start from here to tell how different the ceremony that will open the Qatar soccer world cup 2022 aentrusted to Balich Wonder Studio, which has created dozens of Olympic opening ceremonies, with Anghela Alo as Artistic Director. She is our guide to the discovery of what the first inaugural ceremony of the first world championship in the Arab world will tell.

«In general», he explains, «the ceremonies of the World Cup are within a pre-established format with the sacred playing field in the center (they last only about fifteen minutes ed), what we have created is a storytelling which has expanded to catalyze a series of contents to tell Qatar: translation of the vision of this country».

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There is not only the classic ceremony before the kick-off of the opening match, but three different moments. «Welcome to Qatar is the segment of Saturday 19 and takes place on the sea with people arriving from the desert and from the sea in a three-dimensional multimedia show with a circular icon, the circle of life. This is the message: kids from different countries who meet in the center of the body of water facing difficulties, playing together beyond any conflict, hope for peace».

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Water, light, fireworks, drones, 300 meters of development, 110 meters depth of the water stage, an icon of 18-20 meters in height. The message passes, as in all ceremonies, through iconic images. «A woman who communicates through her voice, the pearl fishermen came from the sea, invites the 5 continents to come». The opening ceremony is not immediately before the opening match, but before the warm-up on Sunday 20 November (from 3pm Italian time on Rai Uno). This is to allow for a larger show, 30 minutes with about 800 people involved, while respecting the grass of the sacred pitch. «The opening of the ceremony is a welcome that the nation wants to give to those who go beyond prejudice. There is a celebration of supporters with music from curves around the world, songs from the past revisited in a modern way».

The stadium is called Al Bayt, home, tent, shelter, but also hospitality. There are suspended elements that represent the encounter and an opening video that tells of a whale shark that becomes a symbol: a protected creature, the vegetarian shark that does not inspire fear. It will also become the third part of the project – one shark of 20 meters of steel and aluminum that will remain among the skyscrapers of the city.

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«To create the ceremony are professionals of the first magnitude, in art, in lights, in music. There is a year of work for three projects », adds Anghela Alo for which this is her largest as a show facility, a transversal project, as complex as the Sochi Paralympics. Time ago the Italian leadership of the ceremonies of the Olympic world is Italian. In this case Marco Balich is creative director of the entire ceremony with: Artistic Director Anghela Alo, Co-Artistic Director Akhmed Al Baker, Music production Katara Studio, Lighting designer Durham Marenghi, Pyro designer: Christophe Berthonneau.

There is no political stance, but the will to tell this part of the world. «It is fundamental legacy for the place where you are and also the presence of people who come from previous experiences. One imagines being able to translate a world: take a culture, understand its cornerstones and stage it down to the details, such as how to hold a camel correctly». This team has already done it for Arab countries with National Day Saudi Arabia, with Leyda the land of imagination.

«I hope to feel happy in the end and to see the people I’ve worked with proud and satisfied. I imagine when I take off my headphones and hear the final applause. The experience is always all-encompassing. The project evolves and the host nation has the right to change it. The ceremony is a choir, a sounding board for the world, not just a voice, it is living matter. You have to know about the world and protect your show together.”

More stories from Vanity Fair that may interest you:

– Because Maradona is still with us

– From Benzema to Leao, football crowns its new kings

– Milan, memories from the Champions League: We were good together


Source: Vanity Fair

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