Dubai Opera chief: this is a venue for the region and the world

DUBAI // Acclaimed Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo will perform at the grand opening of the Dubai Opera House in just more than four months time. He heads a line-up of 49 concerts that make up the first four months of the historic arts complex based in the heart of Downtown Dubai, in the shadow of […]

DUBAI // Acclaimed Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo will perform at the grand opening of the Dubai Opera House in just more than four months time.

He heads a line-up of 49 concerts that make up the first four months of the historic arts complex based in the heart of Downtown Dubai, in the shadow of Burj Khalifa. The concerts will include orchestral performances, Indian classical music, ballet, flamenco and a magic show.

The launch programme was unveiled on Tuesday by chief executive Jasper Hope, who pledged that the new venture will be the premiere performing arts hub in the Middle East, hosting more than 200 concerts in the first 12 months.

“I don’t think this programme is ambitious, given the interest we’ve seen, and given the requirement of Dubai to have a venue of this stature,” Mr Hope said. “I want the people who live and work in Dubai to be proud of this as an addition to their city.”

The 2,000-capacity is a dhow-shaped structure formed part of Emaar’s planned wider Opera District.

The day after Domingo’s grand unveiling on August 31, Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers will open, performed by Italy’s Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, serving as a cultural tribute to the emirate’s heritage.

As well as Domingo, Dubai Opera will welcome his compatriot José Carreras, who arrives on his final world tour, A Life in Music.

Other highlights of the opening season include sitarist Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of legend Ravi Shankar, flamenco dancer Sara Baras, and popular Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi.

Full dates will be made available by April 24, when tickets will go on sale.

Mr Hope, a British expatriate who arrives from seven years as chief executive of London’s Royal Albert Hall, said: “The appeal of Dubai Opera is not just for people who live here, it’s for the region, the world. We finally have a fantastic performance venue.”

Mr Hope, 47, stressed that while the venue was an opera house, it was not intended solely for the elite.

Confirmed family shows include The Nutcracker on Ice – which pits championship skaters alongside Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score – while the festive season will host the family friendly Slava’s Snowshow.

Opera connoisseurs can look forward to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Opera Without Words, an evening of Italian opera’s greatest overtures, both performed by Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi.

Dance fans will welcome The Russian State Ballet, while the Orchestra of Siberia will bring great romantic ballet Giselle, as well as family friendly performance Coppelia.

“I’m not a teacher, but I absolutely understand that not everybody living in the region has had the opportunity to go to performances on a regular basis,” said Mr Hope.

“The biggest single challenge is that all other great cities have had buildings like this for more than 100 years – the Royal Albert Hall is 150 years old.”

Other confirmed bookings for 2016 include the Vienna Concert Verein Orchestra, which will relive the classical heyday with a Mozart Gala and Postcards from Vienna, while Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante will bring Vivaldi’s classic chamber piece, The Four Seasons.

Illusionists will walk the boards in the magic show Impossible, while more dance comes from Switzerland’s Bejart Ballet Lausanne.

Tickets go on sale from April 24 at www.dubaiopera.com.

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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