Thursday, 16 June 2011

AbbaWorld At The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, by Eva Rinaldi

ABBAWORLD, the Official Interactive Exhibition approved and supported by legendary ABBA, is currently showing at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, a stones throw from Darling Harbour.

The expo is an amazing multimedia exhibition that enables visitors to experience the music and magic of ABBA in a completely fresh fashion. 

ABBAWORLD made its star-studded, world debut abroad in London on 26 January 2010 to rave reviews from fans and news media.

It's a wonderful mix of traditional and rare ABBA memorabilia and state-of-the-art technology. The highly interactive experience take visitors on a journey through 25 environments, showcasing rare footage, sets, stage costumes, images and memorabilia which has never been seen in Australia before. Some of the gems are actually from the personal collections of Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida.

ABBAWORLD captures the music, memories and magic that made the Swedish group a worldwide phenomenon. It explores where the four members of the group came from, the formation and success of ABBA and the post ABBA years. It features ABBA’s first major international live performance and Sweden’s first win at the Eurovision Song contest in 1974, their highly acclaimed concert tours including the Australian tour in 1977, and the impact of their music that has inspired several hit movies and a stage show - Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mamma Mia.

On display are more than 20 original costumes, the epitome of 70’s glam, live concert footage, promotional and behind-the-scenes photographs, album artworks and other ABBA memorabilia, as well as exclusive interviews with members Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog.

The ABBA concert dressing room, the writing studio on Viggsö – an island in the Stockholm archipelago where many of ABBA’s songs were written, and ABBA’s recording studio Polar Studio in Stockholm where the group recorded its last two albums, are also recreated in the exhibition.

Visitors can relive ABBA’s music and sing and dance their way through the exhibition using a series of interactives including perform on a stage with ABBA, dance in an ABBA video, record a sing-a-long with ABBA, or be photographed on an ABBA album cover.

For more than 35 years, ABBA has maintained international success with their songs that remain a fixture on radio playlists today. ABBA is one of the top three selling artists in the world, having sold 375 million records worldwide. They still sell over 3 million records a year.

Band member Björn Ulvaeus said: "It always seemed to me that people in the music press and also in the music industry sort of took it for granted that ABBA would be a one hit wonder. Why would we be different from any other Eurovision winner?

"We really had an up-hill struggle after Waterloo and our follow-up singles didn’t do well. Then the Australians came to our rescue. They released SOS and Mamma Mia and both songs made the charts in a big way down under. Suddenly everyone else around the world realized there was life in the band that was supposed to be dead. I’m forever grateful to the Australians for that!"

Jonathan Parsons, Sydney Curator, ABBAWORLD said: "ABBA’s appeal was first and foremost because they were consummate pop artists producing some of the most well-crafted, memorable and enduring pop songs in pop history. They were pioneers in the pop form breaking new ground in recording, concert production and promotional music videos. For Australia this culminated in the extraordinary scenes of adoration for the group that traveled across the globe to perform in Australia in 1977. Their music spoke to the heart, through joy and pain, and left a musical legacy that is still vibrant today."

AbbaWorld will conclude in Sydney on the 26th June, so be quick. The expo truly has to be one of the better value for money entertainment experiences in Sydney.

Kylie Minogue