Andrea Bocelli, speaking ahead of the Opening Ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza. One of the most celebrated tenors of all time, the 63-year-old Italian performed The Prayer as the grand finale to Expo 2020’s Opening Ceremony.
The Expo 2020 Opening Ceremony is an international event of world-class artists. How do you feel about participating?
I am very happy and honoured to be here because, of course, it is one of the most important global events – especially after a year as difficult as the one we have gone through. Therefore, it is a way for me to share with everyone great optimism, to look to the future with confidence.
This World Expo is one of the first truly global events after COVID-19. It is also the first time such an event has taken place in the Middle East. What does it mean for you to be part of Expo 2020 Dubai?
This is an area of the world that is experiencing a moment of great expansion, very fast development, and it is really interesting for anyone to be here and try to understand what is happening here. So, for me, it is a great opportunity and a great honour.
How does it feel to perform at Al Wasl Plaza, such a spectacular location, in Expo 2020’s Opening Ceremony?
I feel honoured to be there. I feel that my presence here reflects all the affection that my audience has been giving me for many years and I hope to give it back.
The main theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. What does this mean to you? What hope and legacy do you think will remain after this World Expo?
I think the phrase that became famous by Steve Jobs was: ‘The only way to predict the future is to invent it.’ Each of us, by giving our best and by putting enthusiasm in what we do, can help to create a better future for generations that come. And I believe that events like these [Expo 2020] serve precisely to speed up this process.
You have performed in Dubai before. Knowing it well, what do you love about Dubai?
I feel comfortable here in Dubai. Once I actually even thought of buying a house here because I love the sun. Perhaps there may even be a little too much of it here, but I like the sun. I prefer heat to cold and, as I said before, there is an air of progress, rapid development, of growth – and these are elements that fundamentally create joy in the human soul.
Your performance at the deserted Duomo di Milano during the pandemic, which was watched by millions of people around the world, gave a sense of optimism to those who experienced it. Joining other world talents and young people at Expo 2020 Dubai can also instil optimism. Can you talk about your own optimism?
I am an incurable optimist. I have always been. In this year of the pandemic, my optimism has undoubtedly been put to the test and now, fortunately, we see the light. Therefore, my optimism regains strength and I hope that soon we can really put everything that we have experienced behind us and find what we have lost. Recuperate our pace.
For me, it is a big honour and pleasure to be here, because it’s my small contribution to give back to people their optimism, good will and happiness.