What's happening at Abu Dhabi Festival

The cultural celebration is back in the UAE capital

What's happening at Abu Dhabi Festival

One of Abu Dhabi’s biggest cultural celebrations is going global as it joins forces with a major sporting spectacle coming to town this year. Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 returns for its 16th staging with a mega line-up of world-class talent. And this year sees it celebrate Special Olympics World Games 2019, which will be held in the capital, with a spectacular showcase of arts and culture in March. With more than 100 events, 18 productions, two co-productions and two commissions across 25 venues, it promises to be an event to remember.
Here’s what’s in store.

Joyce DiDonato with Orchestra il pomo d’oro, directed by Maxim Emelyanychev
Emirates Palace Auditorium will host a pre-festival performance by two-time Grammy Award-winner and world-renowned American mezzo-soprano opera singer, Joyce DiDonato. The star will perform In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music, accompanied by Italian orchestra il pomo d’oro and led by Russian chief conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Jan 24. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

Korean National Ballet presents Giselle

This year’s festival will celebrate South Korea as its ‘Country of Honour’, with a host of Korean-themed events and displays. Giselle is a timeless romantic ballet in two acts, about a peasant girl with a weak heart and a passion for dancing, specially choreographed for Korean National Ballet by Patrice Bart, famous French choreographer, danseur étoile, former ballet master and member of the Board of Ballet at the Opera National de Paris.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Mar 7. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

Korean Symphony Orchestra
These powerhouses of Korean symphonic music will make their debut in Abu Dhabi with a spectacular evening of classical music. The performance will be led by world-renowned modern music specialist and opera conductor, Chung Chi-Yong – the Orchestra’s sixth music director and chief conductor. He will be joined by acclaimed pianist Jae-Hyuck Cho for an evening feauturing three works: Young Jo Lee’s Arirang Festival for Orchestra, Franz List’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major, S.124 and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No.8, Op.88.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Mar 8. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

Justin Kauflin
This award-winning American jazz pianist, composer, producer, educator and Quincy Jones artist already has a legion of UAE fans after his regular performances in Dubai. Now Kauflin is set to wow audiences in Abu Dhabi with his profound performances and help audiences explore the unique ways in which he encounters the world as a blind man. He and his trio will be performing tracks from his new album Coming Home.
Dhs100. Mar 11. New York University Abu Dhabi Arts Centre, Saadiyat Island (02 628 6868).


What’s better than a performance by one world-class opera star? Well, a performance by three world-class opera stars, of course.  This production of Puccini’s classic features a full cast of vocal soloists, an orchestra and choir, thrillingly recreating the passion, drama and chilling atmospheric backdrop in which the opera takes place. A trio of global opera stars will be singing, with Kristine Opolais as Tosca, Vittorio Grigolo as Cavaradossi and Sir Bryn Terfel in the role of Scarpia, complemented by the rousing score brought to life by Sinfonia Cymru and the vocals of the Côr choir.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Mar 15. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

Sara Baras in Sombras
Flamenco dance star Sara Baras will inject some Latin passion into the festival with an eye-catching display of Sombras. The main theme running through the show is La Farruca, a dance that has accompanied Spanish star Baras throughout her 20-year career, amalgamating the virtuosity of her dance with dramatic choreographies, both traditional and modern, with the participation of guest artist, dancer Jose Serrano, and a range of first-class technical resources that will truly make this a night to remember for dance fans.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Mar 21. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

The Paris Opera Ballet
Last but certainly not least, the world’s oldest national ballet company has the honour of concluding the festival for another year. The Paris Opera Ballet will bring a unique, full-length, three-act plotless showcase that uses the music of three very different and distinct composers, performed by the Pasdeloup Orchestra across two nights. Jewels by George Balanchine was inspired by the artistry of jeweller Claude Arpels, and the music cleverly reveals the essence of each jewel. Each section of the ballet is distinct in both music and mood.
Dhs175 (Silver), Dhs250 (Gold), Dhs350 (Diamond). Mar 29-30. Emirates Palace Auditorium, Corniche Road West, www.800tickets.com/abudhabifestival.

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