Saturday, March 15, 2008

The 8th Al Ain Classical Musical Festival

With ten concerts - ten great performances resulting in ten standing ovations – the 8th Al Ain Classical Music Festival, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdulah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was a huge success.

The programme of impressive and ambitious concerts began on March 6 with Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’, sung in Arabic, and ended with arias from Verdi and Puccini in Abu Dhabi.

Four guest orchestras, including our own UAE Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied 12 soloists in arias from well known operas including Tosca, The Barber of Seville and Madame Butterfly, and several symphonies and overtures, including Mozart 41, Beethoven’s Fifth, and Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’, narrated in Arabic by Adel Bakri.

The venues were the impressively splendid Municipality Theatre, and the atmospheric Al Jahili Fort, and the Auditorium in the Emirates Palace Hotel in the nation’s capital. Concertgoers at all three were greeted by representatives of our hosts, and the evening air was beautiful as were the settings.

For those with a more involved interest in classical music, several workshops were given in Abu Dhabi.

Admission was mostly free and all the concerts were well attended, making it very likely that we can look forward to the 9th Festival next Spring.
Robert L. Fielding