Expo 2020 Dubai to host 'the Oscars of opera', with performances by Emirati musicians

Opera Star - Opera International Awards will take place at Millennium Theatre in December

The Italian Pavilion is co-organising the Opera Star - International Opera Awards at Expo 2020 Dubai. Courtesy: Italy Expo 2020
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The best of opera will be celebrated at Expo 2020 Dubai.

On December 29, the world fair's in-house Millennium Theatre will host the Opera Star – International Opera Awards, a gala event in collaboration with the Italy Pavilion and under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth.

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here.

As part of the ceremony, the event will feature musical performances by Emirati artists including pop star Hussain Al Jassmi, soprano and cellist Fatima Al Hashmi and ballerina Alia Al Neyadi.

Accompanying the acts is the Emirates Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of Italian conductor Jacopo Sipari.

The self-proclaimed "Oscars of Opera" will be co-hosted by Lebanese-Armenian pianist Guy Manoukian. The awards launched in 2010 at Italy’s Arena di Verona by The Italian Confederation of Associations and Foundations for Opera and Symphonic Music.

With the goal of enhancing the art form’s stature in both culture and education, the ceremony encompasses all aspects of opera production with awards categories ranging from best tenor to best set designer.

The Dubai event will honour nine artists including Spanish soprano Saioa Hernandez, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and Canadian stage director Robert Carsen.

Music at the Expo

The Opera Star – International Opera Awards is part of growing music programme at Expo 2020 Dubai.

In addition to Thursday's opening ceremony featuring Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and UK pop star Ellie Goulding, the six-month event will feature an eclectic array of performances representing its multicultural nature.

The German Pavilion will feature a band of robots playing the works of Beethoven, while the flesh and blood Al Firdaus Orchestra will feature regularly through the Expo performing works by Indian composer AR Rahman.

Speaking to The National, Rahman said the orchestra comprises 50 female musicians from the Middle East, and will perform adventurous works.

“We didn’t put any parameters. We wanted it to be a hybrid between a classical orchestra and ethnic, combining styles,” he said.

“We were very open. We didn’t want to define that this is what the orchestra should be.”

Updated: September 29, 2021, 7:49 AM