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Abba Voyage, Photo credit: ABBA

The ‘Abbatars’ and video of ABBA’s MR show

The long-awaited reunion of one of the world’s most successful bands was announced in September 2021 followed by their first new album in forty years. In May an unprecedented mixed-reality concert was staged in London.

Released on November 5th 2021, Voyager featured ten brand new songs and immediately sold more than 1 million units worldwide in its first week of release. Alongside the album release, ABBA also revealed plans for a new hybrid concert experience, which took place in the purpose-built ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on May 27th 2022.

As the Swedish band who brought us hits like Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen wrote, the main inspiration to record again came from their involvement in creating their semi-virtual show, which ABBA themselves described as “the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of. Because we have infused a good deal of our souls into those avatars”, stated ABBA, “it’s not an exaggeration to say that we’re back!”


Featuring a set list of hit songs, ABBA Voyage stages the digital versions of the four stars Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad accompanied by a 10-piece live band, which promised to be “a concert like no other, a concert 40 years in the making”.

Blurring the lines between the physical and digital, the “Abbatars” – as Ulvaeus called them – have been brought to life using motion capture technology, similar to that used to create Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” movie series. It will show members of the band as they looked in 1979 performing on stage. The group was filmed in skintight suits for the lifelike recreations, and the performance was choreographed by Wayne McGregor, resident artist at London’s Royal Ballet.

Behind the technical realisation of ABBA Voyage was the effects company Industrial Light & Magic, founded by George Lucas which had a team of 850 artists working on the project. ILM designed and animated ABBA’s digital doubles from the footage directed by film-maker Baillie Walsh, and produced by Johan Renck and Svana Gisla, who worked with Renck on videos for David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, as reported by The Guardian. Ludwig Andersson – Benny Andersson’s film producer son – was also part of the creative team. McGregor described the performance in the UKs Guardian newspaper as, “technological wizardry, state of the art immersion and entertainment innovation”.

The challenge has always been merging the digital with the physical, make digital ABBA come into the physical world and for the boundaries between those two worlds to disappear.

Svana Gisla – ABBA Voyage show producer