Firdaus Orchestra, the female ensemble put together by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman for Expo 2020 Dubai, will return this week to where it all began. The group, led by conductor Yasmina Sabbah, will perform for the first time at Expo City Dubai, the new neighbourhood that will carry on the legacy of the world's fair.
Called The Best of Firdaus, the inaugural performance on Saturday will feature compositions by Rahman, as well as Western orchestral harmonies and ancient melodies from the Orchestral Qawwali Project.
Firdaus Orchestra, made up of classically trained female musicians from 24 nationalities and various ages and backgrounds, draws inspiration from the region’s centuries-old musical traditions, using instruments such as the oud, rebab and darbuka. They made their debut in October last year and performed six shows during Expo 2020 Dubai, which was open for six months.
"After several successful live concerts during Expo 2020 Dubai, Firdaus orchestra will continue to enthral with its best yet, and I am thrilled to include a few of my compositions," Rahman said of the coming Saturday show.
Since Expo 2020 Dubai came to a close in March, Firdaus Orchestra has released a number of musical tracks digitally and worked with award-winning veteran Indian composer Ilaiyaraaja on an original symphony, set for a global premiere later this year.
The group will also return to Expo City Dubai in December for Holiday Symphony. Conducted by Monica Woodman and featuring Filipino pop star Katrina Velarde, Argentinian-Armenian singer Solange Merdinian, dancers and a local choir, the show will be packed with festive classics.
Next year, concerts will include A Tribute to A R Rahman’s Film Scores, as well as three shows during International Women’s Week in March, featuring special guest performances by other female artists.
The UAE’s first fully pedestrianised neighbourhood, Expo City Dubai opened to the public in September, five months after the end of the spectacular world’s fair that drew millions from around the globe.
Visitors can walk around most public spaces for free, but tickets are required to gain access to the attractions.
Tickets for The Best of Firdaus start at Dh105 and are available at platinumlist.net. The show is free for people of determination and visitors aged 17 years and under.