As I stepped into the grand foyer of Dubai Opera, the air was abuzz with anticipation and excitement for the grand opening with the Swan Lake of the Hungarian State Ballet. The elegant chandeliers illuminated the opulent surroundings, casting a soft, warm glow on the marble floors and intricately designed walls. It was the opening night of a new season full of innovations thanks to the young and talented new Italian Superintendent Paolo Petrocelli who is giving this institution programming worthy of the beauty of the place. I also had the privilege of being a VIP guest at this prestigious event.
On my way to the seat, I couldn’t help but marvel at the stunning architecture of the venue. Designed to resemble a traditional sailing vessel, Dubai Opera exuded a sense of grace and sophistication. The main stage, orchestra, and seating were housed in the ‘bow’ of the structure, while the elongated ‘hull’ featured waiting areas, taxi drop-off points, and parking facilities. The rooftop restaurant offered breath-taking views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, adding to the allure of the evening.
Taking my seat, I felt a sense of anticipation building within me. The curtain was about to rise, and I knew that I was in for a remarkable experience. I had seen “The Swann Lake” before but witnessing it in the grandeur of Dubai Opera promised to be an entirely new and enchanting experience, also because the quality of the staging was as spectacular as the rest of the programming this season.
“The target of the company as a whole is to increasingly make Dubai Opera an attractive hub of cultural tourism in Dubai, bringing in top-class productions that reflect the multicultural soul of the country,” declares Paolo Petrocelli. The Red Carpet was crowded with eminent personalities from all over the world including Alessandro Maffi, CEO Van Cleef and Arpels, Anthony Liguer-Laoubhouet Icon of Middle East and North Africa and Manuel Labatè director of Louvre Abu-Dhabi, Rana Hatem Haddad chief of Vogue Arabia. Additionally there was a long list of ambassadors and consulates from the major European countries.
As the lights dimmed and the music began, I was transported into a world of magic and beauty. The exquisite movements of the dancers, accompanied by the graceful melodies of the orchestra, mesmerized the audience. The precision and artistry displayed on stage were nothing short of breath-taking. I found myself captivated by the seamless storytelling and emotional depth conveyed through each movement. Without forgetting the perfect acoustics of the hall, which, as Petrocelli emphasises, “is essential for enjoying both the pop, rock, folk or jazz concerts we have on the bill and the great classical events, such as the debut of the orchestra of Milan’s La Scala Theatre on 1 December”.
Being a VIP guest heightened the experience even further. Throughout the evening, I was treated to impeccable service and attention to detail. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted with warmth and hospitality. The staff ensured that every aspect of my visit was taken care of, from the luxurious amenities to the delectable cuisine served during the intermission.
Attending the opening of a new season at Dubai Opera was truly a privilege. It was an evening that combined elegance, culture, and artistry in a way that left a lasting impression on me. The venue itself was a testament to architectural brilliance and its audience is young, international, and enthusiastic, while the performance showcased the immense talent and dedication of the artists involved.
“Dubai Opera continues to lead as an iconic ‘House of Cultures,’ a vibrant and innovative hub, a meeting point where languages and cultures from across the globe intersect and meld daily, delivering a truly unparalleled and memorable experience to all audiences,” says Dr. Paolo Petrocelli, Head of Dubai Opera. “We are dedicated to serving our diverse community, forging connections between esteemed companies and world-renowned artists who grace the stage of our exceptional venue.”
HelloMonaco: How will the partnerships with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and Dubai Culture enhance the cultural vibrancy of the region?
Dr. Paolo Petrocelli: These partnerships are designed to catalyse the regional artistic ecosystem and reinforce ties with local communities. Through an array of ventures, including music festivals, educational initiatives, theatrical performances, and workshops, these synergistic collaborations aim to celebrate Dubai’s rich cultural heritage, engage the community meaningfully, and deepen cultural roots.
HelloMonaco: Can you provide more information about the Training Programme and the Lullaby Project launched by Dubai Opera?
Dr. Paolo Petrocelli: This programme equips aspiring performing arts professionals with the requisite skills and knowledge in both a theoretical and practical setting for sound, light, and stage operations, fostering a broader understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity, thereby aligning with Dubai Opera’s ethos of promoting global cultural harmony.
Leaving Dubai Opera that night, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to witness such a remarkable event. It was a reminder of the transformative power of the arts and the ability of cultural experiences to leave a lasting impact on our lives.
Dubai Opera – Upcoming bright performances
Teatro alla Scala Orchestra’s UAE Premiere
December 1, 2023
On December 1st 2023, Dubai Opera will mark an extraordinary cultural milestone: the historic debut of the celebrated Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan set to present a memorable gala concert titled “A Concert for Tomorrow.” Timed during the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), this exclusive artistic event will feature a spectacular repertoire by Italian maestros such as Verdi Puccini and Mascagni. Vittorio Grigolo will be the singing star this evening, celebrated in the best international theatres and after a few days engaged for Tosca on the stage of the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome.
December 15-17, 2023
From December 15-17, 2023, the Ballet Theatre and State Opera Orchestra of Astana (Kazakhstan) offer an enchanting rendition of “The Nutcracker,” inviting the Dubai Opera audience into a realm of magic.
La Scala Theatre Ballet School Debut
February 17-18, 2024
Dubai Opera’s ballet series receives an extra dash of allure as the La Scala Theatre Ballet School from Milan, one of the globe’s preeminent classical ballet academies, makes its Dubai Opera debut on February 17-18, 2024. This prestigious academy has produced renowned A-list stars such as Roberto Bolle and Jacopo Tisci, both former Bolshoi principal dancers.
Musical “The Phantom of the Opera”
February 22-March 10, 2024
Back by popular demand, “The Phantom of the Opera” will enrapture spectators with its soul-stirring music and compelling narrative from February 22 to March 10, 2024.
MusicAeterna & Teodor Currentzis in the Middle East
April 27-28, 2024
In a groundbreaking regional first, MusicAeterna, one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles that constantly pushes the boundaries of its creative powers, will perform two concerts on April 27-28, 2024, dedicated to Tchaikovsky and Wagner.
The Inaugural Film Music Week
May 9-10, 2024
The curtain rises on the first-ever Film Music Week presented by Dubai Opera, a vibrant celebration dedicated to honouring iconic film composers. Launching the series on May 9-10, 2024, is the “Official Concert Celebration of Ennio Morricone” paying tribute to one of cinema’s most revered composers, directed by Andrea Morricone, the late maestro’s son. The week concludes with a nod to the unparalleled talent of Charlie Chaplin. Audiences will enjoy a screening of a Chaplin classic, The Kid, celebrating its score composed by Chaplin himself.
Rome Opera Ballet’s UAE Debut
May 25-26, 2024
The Rome Opera Ballet, featuring Director and étoile Eleonora Abbagnato, takes centre stage in the UAE for the first time on May 25-26, 2024, with the exceptional performance “Les deux nuits,” complete with Dior-crafted costumes featuring the exquisite and opulent designs by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s creative director since 2016.
To follow up with the detailed program at the Dubai Opera please follow the link to check the latest updates.