All the UAE shows coming in 2021: from Kadim Al Sahir to pop star Lewis Capaldi

Other performances on the horizon include those by Wizkid, Mark Ronson and comedian Michael McIntyre

L-R: Kadim Al Sahir, Rosario La Tremendita and Lewis Capaldi will all perform in the UAE this year. Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National, Getty Images
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The UAE performance season is set to be truly jam-packed with offerings in 2021.

With the arrival of Expo 2020 Dubai, this year’s calendar is full of options that will appeal to all entertainment and cultural tastes.

Pop concert spectaculars are back with stars Khalid and Lewis Capaldi performing in the UAE capital as part of the Abu Dhabi F1 After-Race Concerts.

Expo's international appeal will be underscored through various concerts featuring Iraq’s Kadim Al Sahir, Pakistan’s Atif Islam and Spain's Rosario La Tremendita.

Those looking for hearty laughs can check out the Abu Dhabi gig by UK stand-up comedy star and television personality Michael McIntyre.

Latin culture lovers will be enthralled by Cuba Vibra!, a show at Dubai Opera exploring the nuances and variety of flamenco and Cuban dance.

And if you are looking for chart sounds, producer and DJ Mark Ronson and Nigerian Afro-pop star Wizkid are coming to Abu Dhabi to headline a pair of festivals.

Make sure to keep coming back as the list will be updated throughout the year.

Weekly

The Theatre at Fairmont Dubai: every Wednesday to Saturday

The Theatre is a glitzy dinner and cabaret concept and features musical and dance routines curated by the acclaimed Lebanese-Armenian composer Guy Manoukian.

Running weekly from Wednesday to Saturday at Fairmont Dubai, each of the two nightly shows boast slick choreography, acrobatics and eclectic band performances of Levant folk classics and classic western pop hits.

That fun and refined approach is also reflected in the international menu, with dishes such as lamb chops and black cod, to shared platters of sushi, sashimi and maki rolls.

From Wednesday to Saturday, with shows at 8pm and 10pm; doors open from 7.30pm to 2am; reservations can be made on 04 222 2268

October

Atif Islam at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Expo 2020 Dubai: Saturday, October 9

Pakistan will be celebrated at the Expo with a concert by one of the country’s biggest pop stars. Aslam will be joined by a range of performers in the two-and-a-half-hour concert.

Show begins at 9pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

Step Afrika! at Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation: Saturday, October 9

Step Afrika! is one of the top African-American dance companies in the US, founded in 1994 as the first professional brand dedicated to the tradition of stepping.

The troupe, which has toured more than 60 countries, demonstrates a percussive, contemporary dance form integrating songs, storytelling, humour and audience participation.

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh100 at culturalfoundation.ae

'Rigoletto’ at Dubai Opera: Monday and Tuesday, October 11 and 12

This 19th-century opera cemented Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi's place as one of the masters of the form.

Based on Victor Hugo's play Le Roi s'amuse, Rigoletto is a dark fairy tale that centres on the title character, a court jester whose charm and viciousness could spell his and his family's destruction.

The production is performed by Russia's St Petersburg Opera.

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh300 at dubaiopera.com

Mark Ronson at Semi Permanent Middle East, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi: Thursday to Saturday, October 14 to 16

The Grammy Award-winning British producer will headline a festival that brings together global talents from across the fashion, design, retail, branding and technology industries.

In addition to a DJ set, Ronson will participate in a panel discussion exploring his craft and trends facing the music industry.

Specific dates of his performances and panel session are yet to be announced.

More information is available at semipermanent.com

Kadim Al Sahir at Al Wasl Plaza, Expo 2020 Dubai: Friday, October 15

One of the most successful Arab artists in history will return to the stage for the first time since the pandemic began for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Infinite Nights series.

Expect a performance of the Iraqi superstar’s biggest classical and pop hits.

Ticket holders can also watch the concert via screens at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre and Jubilee Park.

Show begins at 9pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

Rolando Villazon and Xavier de Maistre at Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation: Monday, October 18

Beginning Abu Dhabi Classics concert series is Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon, accompanied by French harpist Xavier De Maistre.

Cultural exchange forms the heart of the duo's repertoire, with works encompassing Latin America and Europe.

The programme includes works by composers Silvio Rodriguez and Ruben Fuentes as well as traditional dance pieces from Mexico and Spain.

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh100 at culturalfoundation.ae

Ahmed Al Hosani and the NSO Chamber Orchestra at Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation: Friday, October 22

As part of Abu Dhabi Music Programme's Sounds of the UAE stream, Al Hosani will team up with the UAE's NSO Chamber Orchestra for an eclectic programme of classic Arab and western compositions.

The baritone singer will perform works by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux as well Lebanese singer Melhem Barakat.

Meanwhile, the orchestra will be showcased through instrumental pieces by Mozart and Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma.

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh100 at culturalfoundation.ae

Wiener Concert-Verein at Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation: Wednesday and Thursday, October 27 and 28

The prestigious orchestra of the Vienna Music Academy will play two shows in the UAE capital. The first will feature Russian-Belgian violin star Vadim Repin with a repertoire including Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens.

The following night has Russian pianist Dmitry Shishkin as guest, with a programme featuring Chopin's Piano Concerto N1 and Grieg’s Holberg Suite.

Shows begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh100 at culturalfoundation.ae

'The Legend of Love' at Dubai Opera: Wednesday and Thursday, October 27 and 28

The Astana Ballet performs an opera that continues to enchant 50 years on.

Choreographed by Russian dance pioneer Yuri Grigorovich, the story is based on an ancient Persian legend depicting a scandalous love triangle in a royal court.

The emotionally charged performance is augmented by a sweeping score which has its influences in the region.

Show begins at 9pm; tickets from Dh233 at dubaiopera.com

Rob Beckett at the Dubai Opera: Monday, October 25

A household name in the UK, the British comic is known for his relatable jokes, large smile and general geezer aura.

He is a regular on UK variety shows 8 Out of 10 Cats and Mock the Week.

Speaking to The National earlier in the year, Beckett promises a killer show: “If you’ve ever enjoyed me on the telly or on a panel show, or even if you’ve thought, ‘I’m not sure about him’, whatever your acceptance was of that, I’m better on stage.”

Doors open at 7pm; tickets from Dh318.40 at dubai.platinumlist.net

‘Devdas – The Musical’ at Dubai Opera: Thursday to Saturday, October 21 to 23

Bollywood meets Broadway in this lavish production.

Devdas – The Musical is based on the 2002 film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Backed by a heart-rending soundtrack composed by Ismail Darbar, the plot follows the lives of Devdas and Paro, star-crossed lovers whose lives are affected by seemingly endless obstacles.

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh275 at dubaiopera.com

Infected Mushroom at Jubliee Zone, Expo 2020 Dubai: Saturday October 23

As one of the bestselling groups in Israeli music history, the musical duo Infected Mushroom will be representing their homeland via a performance of trance, electronic and psychedelic music. Expect to dance.

Show begins at 9.30pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

Rosario La Tremendita at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Expo 2020 Dubai: Sunday, October 24

Flamenco singer Rosario La Tremendita will no doubt have the audience on their feet, clapping their hands along to tracks from her new album, Delirium Tremens.

Show begins at 8pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

Veronika Harcsa and Balint Gyemant at Earth Stage, Expo 2020 Dubai: Monday, October 25

These world-famous Hungarian jazz musicians will perform a short gig together for one day only.

Harcsa describes their music in this way: “Our songs have verses, bridges and refrains like a pop song, but the melodies and harmonies are rooted in jazz aesthetics and modern music.”

Show begins at 8.30pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

Olga Pericet at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Expo 2020 Dubai: Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29

The globally renowned Spanish dancer and choreographer, who fuses flamenco and contemporary styles, embarks on a personal journey through dance based on memories and her own life experiences.

Show begins at 7pm; free with an Expo day pass at expo2020dubai.com

November

Cuba Vibra! at Dubai Opera: Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 6

Take a trip to Cuba through its rich tradition of music and dance.

With its hit show Cuba Vibra!, the troupe Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba from Havana will perform a number of folk songs and dance styles associated with the island country including the cha-cha-cha, mambo, rumba, conga and bolero.

Concert begins at 9pm; tickets from Dh250 at dubaiopera.com

Dance with Georgia at Dubai Opera: Sunday to Tuesday, November 7 to 9

Prepare to be dazzled by the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet.

The popular 70-strong Georgian ensemble will showcase the country's rich and acrobatic folk dances spanning various ethnic groups.

The company performed successful tours of New York's Broadway and Milan's La Scala.

Show begins at 9pm; tickets from Dh225 at dubaiopera.com

Andrea Bocelli at Jumeirah Beach Hotel: Monday, November 8

Andrea Bocelli has become something of a familiar face in Dubai this autumn.

On the back of his moving performance at Expo 2020 Dubai's opening ceremony, the Italian tenor returns for a solo gig performing tracks from his most recent album, Believe, which was released in November 2020.

The album features covers of tracks such as You'll Never Walk Alone by Richard Rodgers, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and classical arias including Puccini's Angele Dei.

Concert begins at 8.30pm; tickets from Dh750 at mpremiere.com and platinumlist.net

Arijit Singh at Etihad Arena: Friday, November 19

Top Bollywood singer Arijit Singh is set to return to Abu Dhabi after five years.

With hits such as Kabira, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Channa Mereya from various films, Singh is often referred to as the "king of playback singing", for pre-recorded songs which are then pictured as being sung by the stars in movies.

He was also the most-streamed Indian artist on Spotify in 2020.

Doors open at 6pm; tickets (minimum of 2) from Dh150 at etihadarena.ae

Guy Manoukian at Dubai Opera: Friday, November 19

The Lebanese-Armenian pianist and composer sold out the venue on his past three visits.

Manoukian is known for fusing eastern and western styles, and his modern takes on Arabic orchestral classics.

Concert begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh250 at dubaiopera.com

‘Dial M for Murder’ at Dubai Opera: Monday and Tuesday, November 22 and 23

In a stage production of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic film, seasoned British actor Tom Chambers (Holby City and Casualty) leads the cast as Tony Wendice, an embittered tennis player who, upon discovering his wife's affair, begins to plot the "perfect crime".

Show begins at 8pm; tickets from Dh200 at dubaiopera.com

La Scala Academy Orchestra at Etihad Arena: Thursday, November 25

What better way to celebrate the power of Italian opera than an arena performance by La Scala Academy Orchestra, the in-house ensemble of Milan's famous Scala Theatre.

Supported by the opera company's singers, the night will feature masterpieces by Verdi (La Forza del Destino and Pace, pace, mio Dio) as well orchestral performances of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 6.

Tickets prices will be announced and made available soon.

More information is available at www.abudhabimusic.ae

Michael McIntyre at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi: Friday, November 26

A star of the international stand-up comedy scene, McIntyre has sold out arenas across the UK, Europe and the UAE.

His headline Netflix special Michael McIntyre: Showman, released last year, was one of the most-watched comedy shows on the streaming service in 2020.

The comedian also hosts the UK prime-time entertainment programme Michael McIntyre's Big Show on BBC One.

Tickets are available for groups of two, three or four guests. Doors at 7pm; tickets from Dh295 at etihadarena.ae

December

'Anna Karenina' at Dubai Opera: Thursday to Saturday, December 2 to 4

A ballet by Boris Eifman, the Russian choreographer channels the passion and moral ambiguity of Leo Tolstoy's 1878 novel into this story of a love triangle spanning various levels of society.

“Ballet is a very specific realm where psychological drama is re-enacted and fulfilled,” Eifman says of his approach to the show. “It is an opportunity to get an insight into the subconscious. Every new production is a search for the unknown.”

Show begins at 8pm and 2pm (Friday and Saturday matinees); tickets from Dh340 at dubaiopera.com

Khalid at Etihad Park, Yasalam After-Race Concerts: Thursday, December 9

Named one of Time magazine's Most Influential People in 2019, six-time Grammy nominee Khalid is a multi-platinum selling R&B and pop star, who shot to fame with his debut album, American Teen.

The follow-up, 2019’s Free Spirit was home to Grammy-nominated single Talk.

His most recent track New Normal came out this summer and now he's gearing up to release his third studio album Everything Is Changing later this year.

This year, all Grand Prix ticket holders will be asked to choose one Yasalam After-Race Concert to attend in line with the government-approved capacity in Etihad Park, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Concert begins at 9pm; ticket from D660 at yasmarinacircuit.com

Lewis Capaldi at Etihad Park, Yasalam After-Race Concerts: Saturday, December 11

The Scottish pop-star achieved huge success since he burst on to the scene with his debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent in 2019.

It spent 10 weeks at No 1 and was certified platinum.

With a new album in the works, perhaps the UAE will be the perfect place to test out some fresh tunes.

This year, all Grand Prix ticket holders will be asked to choose one Yasalam After-Race Concert to attend in line with the government-approved capacity in Etihad Park, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Concert begins at 9pm; ticket from D660 at yasmarinacircuit.com

Wizkid at Futr World, Abu Dhabi: Thursday to Saturday, December 9 to 11

The Nigerian singer, known for global hits Essence and Come Closer, will perform as part of Futr World, a free entertainment and culture festival to be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Thursday to Saturday, December 9 to 11.

Joining him at the event will be up-and-coming UK dancehall artist Alicai Harley.

Dates of their respective performances are yet to be announced.

More information is available at futrworld.com

'The Nutcracker' at Dubai Opera: Thursday to Saturday, December 23 to 25

The Sugar Plum Fairy and all her friends will visit the UAE this year, for a limited run of The Nutcracker at Dubai Opera.

The Downtown venue will host the renowned ballet between Saturday to Tuesday, December 4 to 7, with the Russian State Ballet and Opera House putting its spin on the Tchaikovsky-scored classic.

The two-act ballet, created by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, was first performed in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia's St Petersburg.

'Tosca' at Dubai Opera: Monday to Wednesday, December 27 to 29

Heralded as Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's greatest work, the Russian State Opera will take on this lavish melodrama where love, politics and murder collide. Set in Rome in the 1800s, the title character's love for runaway lover Cavaradossi is put to the test by the cruel investigator Scarpia. Will their love survive or will the strain cause Tosca to descend into madness?

Concert begins at 9pm; tickets from Dh350 at dubaiopera.com

Updated: October 11, 2021, 9:58 AM