*‘Magical Journey attracts ‘more than 20,000 spectators’
More than 20,000 spectators surrounded the lake in Aspire Park on Friday evening to watch the spectacular fireworks performances of the second Aspire Lake Festival, ‘Magical Journey’, its organisers said.
The event was organised by Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), in partnership with Ooredoo, Qatar Airways, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Katara – the Cultural Village Foundation, and directed by French artist Christophe Berthonneau.
The performances turned the Aspire Lake into a 3D spectacle. Some of the spectators described the show as one of the best they had ever seen.
The event told the story of a young Arab man who embarked on a journey to roam the oceans in search for a legendary pearl. He hoped the journey will help him find the secret to happiness and peace. To get to his destination, the young man, who started his magical journey from Qatar, travelled the world and overcame many obstacles such as the Chinese Dragon, mythical monsters of the African Savanna, and the giant anaconda snakes told in Amazonian folklore. After fighting many battles, the young man found that the secret to happiness and peace was in Doha all along.
The 40-minute performances were the ideal blend between two of the Earth’s contrasting elements, water and fire. The fireworks displayed were perfectly timed to match the tone of music that accompanied the show.
Kholoud al-Hail, chairperson of the event’s Organising Committee, said: “The event transformed AZF from a host of international sporting events to one of the preferred entertainment destinations in Doha, catering to the growing interest of all community members and tourists in Qatar. AZF’s logistical capabilities and comprehensive facilities brings Qatar a step closer to achieving its objectives of providing the ideal mixture of sports tourism and leisure activities for people, and supporting the country’s ambitions of sustainability.”
Speaking about the show’s success, French fireworks art wizard and director Berthonneau said: “I’ve been working with my group for a very long time, and we grew up working with street art. In street art, you don’t have that much money so you have to be clever and inventive. You learn that you have to focus your artistic direction only in one line so you can control the details. The huge complexity of this kind of event is to create the right balance of light, to make the miracle happen. (The show) won’t be nice if the fireworks are too bright and the lights are too low. You need to have elegance and beauty in your story.
“We display our art all around the world, but we only do original shows. We don’t want to do the same show every time. So, when we came to Qatar, we didn’t think we’re doing a Qatari show, but that we’re doing a show for Qatar.”
Some of Berthonneau’s most notable works were displayed at the closing ceremony of the 1998 FIFA World Cup France, the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004, Turin 2006, and the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. He also played a part in the inauguration of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha in 2008.
Speaking about his expectations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Berthonneau said when working for a ceremony, the system is on a much larger scale because the director is addressing 6bn people so each (ceremony) has to be very precise. He also noted that the director must adhere to the rules and guidelines set by the organisers, so the show will depend on what FIFA and the Qatari authorities have in mind.
Berthonneau has been studying the influence of Arabic culture and Andalusia and he believes the Arabic culture could inspire a poetic ceremony in the coming years.
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