Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation is marking the launch of its new indoor theatre with a series of concerts and a circus performance.
Located within the recently renovated Qasr Al Hosn, the new 900-seat indoor theatre joins an outdoor amphitheatre, ensuring that the foundation's immersive arts programme can run throughout the year.
The first artists set to perform in the new space are masters of their respective genres. This week there will be two performances by Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma, who will perform different programmes on Wednesday, September 4 and Friday, September 6. Tickets for both concerts start at Dh105 and can be purchased online.
For his first outing, Shamma will bring his acclaimed Assyria to Seville show to Abu Dhabi. Performed in partnership with the 2350 BC Orchestra, the concert first took place in Barcelona's famed Gran Teatre del Liceu.
During that performance, Shamma played five new variations of the oud, which he helped create. "The instruments are unprecedented," he told The National on the eve of that concert. "They come with high specifications; there is the renowned traditional oud and then the new ones, and they are Oud Lin, Oud La, Oud Lo and Oud Double Bass."
For his September 6 performance, Shamma will turn the spotlight on students from his Bait Al Oud institution. Located in Al Nahyan, the conservatory will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a concert in which Shamma will perform alongside graduates and current students. The compositions played on the night will include traditional Emirati and classical Arabic music.
"My school is very important in Abu Dhabi," Shamma said. "There are a lot of students coming from the Gulf area; it’s now the centre of the region – in Abu Dhabi they care a lot."
Emirati folk star
On Thursday, September 12, Emirati folk music legend Mehad Hamad will perform a set spanning his three-decade career. Tickets for the concert start from Dh200.
The singer, who was born in Sharjah, found success with his last album, 2014's La Tardini Hudud, which was an impressive and uplifting collection of traditional Emirati folk and patriotic music, all delivered in his rich and weathered voice.
Hamad's acclaim even impressed Hollywood stars Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson. When the duo was in Abu Dhabi in April 2014, to shoot scenes for Furious 7, Gibson posted a video asking Hamad to join him for a jam session.
Speaking to The National that year, Hamad said he met the stars out of his duty as an Emirati. "When somebody travels to your country and requests to see you, you have to show the respect and meet this gentleman," he said.
"This doesn’t matter whether he is a celebrity or not. This is why Emiratis are known for their hospitality. I also got to meet Vin Diesel and it was great to spend time and discuss many things with both of them. I do now consider them as friends."
An immersive take on old folk classics
Finally, those looking for family entertainment with a healthy dose of Arabic culture should check out the performances by the Caracalla Dance Theatre.
On Thursday, September 26 and Friday, September 27, the Beirut troupe will perform stories from A Thousand and One Nights in their own inimitable, engrossing style.
More information on Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation concerts is available at www.culturalfoundation.ae