LONDON — Is it possible to have too much Abba? Knowing me, knowing you, the answer is no.
The Swedish quartet that gave the world “Waterloo” and “Dancing Queen” has sold 400 million records since its 1970s heyday and spawned the hugely successful stage and film musical “Mamma Mia!”
And now there’s AbbaWorld — a new museum-cum-theme park in London with enough music, mementoes and memory-lane appeal to satisfy even the most fervent Abba fan.
AbbaWorld’s Swedish organizers promise the exhibition — which opens today — will be “a place for total interaction” with the band. The celebration kicked off Tuesday night with a party attended by band members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Anna-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad.
Abba’s music is inescapable throughout AbbaWorld, from the exuberance of “Dancing Queen” through the melancholy of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” to the heartbreak of “The Winner Takes It All” — reminders that the band started off as two married couples and ended as two divorced ones.
The exhibition tells the band’s story in 25 rooms spread over 30,000 square feet. Glass cases contain spangly costumes in silk, satin and spandex.
An ambitious interactive element lets visitors take quizzes, recreate the band’s sound at a mixing desk, or dance and sing alongside an animated Abba via “holographic video” technology.
The gift shop features Abba T-shirts, teddy bears, jigsaw puzzles, figurines and, of course, CDs.
An audioguide — narrated by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, one of the stars of the film version of “Mamma Mia!” — traces Abba’s story, from the members’ amateur teenage bands to stardom. The breakthrough came in 1974, when the band was the surprise winner of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” — a song that brought Abba’s mix of bouncy pop melodies, multilayered harmonies and slightly silly lyrics to the world.
The members of Abba drifted apart in the 1980s and have vowed not to reunite.