There’s no chance of having too much ABBA. Not now, not ever, even if you’re not an ABBA fan. So, that’s why ABBAWORLD has been created. A new museum-cum-theme park in London with enough music, mementoes and memory-lane appeal, a place of pilgrimage to match the Elvis shrine of Graceland or Liverpool’s Beatles Story, has opened its gates to the public. ABBA WORLD premiered on January 27, with a party staged at London’s Earl’s Court venue and attended by Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad and Björn Ulvaeus, one half of the legendary Swedish pop group.
Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group International chairman and CEO, presented the duo with a plaque commemorating 375 million record sales worldwide. Then, Lyngstad expressed her delight with the ABBA WORLD show: “We’ve already been through the exhibition and I must say I’m so proud of the team that has worked here and also to be part of what is happening here tonight. We have been on a journey again, in a way.”
The exhibition presents the band’s story in 25 rooms spread over 30,000 square feet (2,800 sq. meters). Glass cases contain costumes in silk, satin and spandex. One corner holds the helicopter pictured on the cover of the 1976 album “Arrival” and visitors can see recreations of Polar Studios, where the band recorded, and the seaside cabin near Stockholm where Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson composed the band’s hits. There’s an audio guide of ABBA’s story narrated by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, one of the stars of the film version of “Mamma Mia!”, and a gift shop where visitors can buy Abba T-shirts, teddy bears, jigsaw puzzles, figurines and CDs.
ABBAWORLD’s Swedish organizers said that the exhibition is “a place for total interaction” with the band. The exhibition has holographic video technology that allows visitors to dance and sing alongside an animated ABBA. “It started with, ‘How do we give the visitor a big hug in each room?’” said Magnus Danielsson, president of Touring Exhibitions, the company behind ABBAWORLD. “This is going to be more like going to ‘Mamma Mia!’ than going to an exhibition. We want people to sing and dance.” And indeed, there the music satisfies even the most fervent ABBA fan, with songs from “Dancing Queen” and the melancholic “Knowing Me, Knowing You” to the tearing “The Winner Takes It All”.
The exhibition remains at London’s Earl’s Court venue until Mar. 28. The show is then expected to tour internationally although details have not been announced yet.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 6:27 am and is filed under News.