Six concerts to catch at Expo 2020 Dubai this week: from AR Rahman to Lea Salonga

With Christmas specials, the line-up this week is bigger than ever

Tamer Hosny, Lea Salonga and AR Rahman are performing at Expo 2020 Dubai this week: Photo: Arun Titan, Getty Images
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With 192 pavilions, myriad exhibitions, hundreds of restaurants and non-stop activities, there are experiences for every taste at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here.

Each week, we round up some of the key highlights not to be missed at the world's fair. And with Christmas Day falling on Saturday, celebrations have already begun across the attraction with Expo 2020's chief event officer saying it is “the biggest site-wide event we’ve done so far”.

Celebrating their country days this week are Qatar (December 19), Solomon Islands (December 21), Togo (December 21), Tajikistan (December 22), Angola (December 22), Palestine (December 24) and Niger (December 24).

Here are our top picks of concerts happening this week:

1. AR Rahman and his entourage

The Oscar-winning Indian composer is deeply involved with everything Expo 2020 Dubai, with his all-women Firdaus Orchestra having wowed fans since the fair opened. Last month, Rahman's daughter Khatija Rahman even joined the orchestra on stage, delivering a breathtaking performance of one of her father's songs.

This week, Rahman will return with a powerhouse entourage who will help him run through his myriad hits. Performers who will share the stage with the acclaimed musician include Hariharan, Haricharan, Javed Ali, Andrea Jeremiah, Benny Dayal, Jonita Gandhi and Shweta Mohan.

Where: Jubilee Stage

When: Wednesday, December 22

Time: 8pm

2. Tamer Hosny Live

The Arab superstar, who last performed in the UAE at the Etihad Park in Abu Dhabi in July, will light up Expo 2020's Jubilee Stage with his old and new hits. The Egyptian singer and actor, who returned to the big screen earlier this year after a two-year absence with the dark comedy Mesh Ana, has more than 15 years of hits in his arsenal, and his performance is sure to be a treat for his fans.

Where: Jubilee Stage

When: Thursday, December 23

Time: 8.30pm

3. Jordan's Diana Karazon

The Jordanian pop star, who shot to fame after winning the reality talent show Superstar in 2003, will perform for fans the same night as Hosny, but on a different stage. Born in Kuwait, Karazon is also a well-known actress and television presenter in Jordan.

Where: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

When: Thursday, December 23

Time: 7.30pm

4. The poetry and music of Faraj Abyad

Born in Baltimore, Syrian tarab singer and musician Abyad has played in some of the most prestigious venues in the US – including the historic Symphony Space on Manhattan’s Broadway – revitalising the genre through his interpretations of classics by Farid El-Atrash, Umm Kulthum, Abdel Halim Hafez, Fairouz and Sabah Fakhri, as well as creating original pieces.

“The oud is now my main instrument because it’s always with me,” he told The National in an interview. “For me, and a lot of singers, the oud is used as support. When you sing and play the oud, you have to know when to give more space to the oud or your voice. How to let it complement your singing.”

Catch him on stage as he brings to life classical Arabic poetry of both the past and the present.

Where: Jubilee Stage

When: Friday, December 24

Time: 5pm

5. Double bill of London Community Gospel Choir and Naia Izumi

Fresh off their Royal Albert Hall Christmas concert, one of Europe's leading choirs is all set to bring some cheer to the Expo 2020 stage. Formed in 1982, London Community Gospel Choir has performed everywhere, from the International FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium to Glastonbury Festival.

In 2013, in celebration of their 30th anniversary, the gospel choir hosted a concert in London, bringing together 30 choirs from across the world to perform together as one, breaking a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Mass Gospel Choir.

Following the group will be Naia Izumi, the American virtuoso guitarist and singer-songwriter from California who found fame busking the streets of Los Angeles, where he’d record his performances and post them to YouTube. He's now signed to Sony Masterworks.

Where: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

When: Friday, December 24

Time: 7.30pm

6. Lea Salonga returns

It's been more than 30 years since her historic debut in the West End hit Miss Saigon, but Filipina singer and actress Salonga still manages to sell out venues wherever she goes, including her last two performances at the Dubai Opera last year.

Now, Expo 2020 ticket holders have the chance to catch the performer – also known as the voice of Princess Jasmine in A Whole New World from the Disney classic Aladdin – as she shares the stage with singer and pianist Joe Stilgoe as well as the London Community Gospel Choir. It will be a Christmas Day treat for sure.

Where: Jubilee Stage

When: Saturday, December 25

Time: 8.30pm

Scroll through the gallery below for Christmas celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai:

Updated: December 19, 2021, 12:10 PM