Exactly a week before the grand opening of the Dubai Opera, the first proper, official image of the venue’s interior has been released.
It offers a stunning view looking out into the auditorium from the stage, out across the glitzy seating and up to the balconies looming overhead.
The photo taken inside the distinctive dhow-shaped structure – located in Downtown Dubai, in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa – follows an Instagram video, seemingly shot from the venue's VIP boxes, which was posted five days earlier by the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, and has attracted almost 2,500 views.
The 2,000-capacity new venue is billed as the first truly world-class performance stage in the emirates, and is hoped it will provide a major boast to the cultural community across the country and the wider region, as well as increasing tourism into Dubai.
So expectations and nerves are running high ahead of the inaugural concert from opera legend Plácido Domingo, one of the renowned Three Tenors, on August 31.
Officials say many of the musicians are already in town to commence rehearsals for a busy opening week, which continues with a performance of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers on Thursday September 1 and 3, and Rossini’s much-loved comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville of September 2 and 4.
Trieste's 65-piece Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi will be in residence for a total of six nights, performing an instrumental gala of memorable Italian-opera overtures, preludes and interludes – titled Opera Without Words – on September 5, as well as backing Domingo and performing both operas, alongside a 44-strong chorus section.
Check Arts&Life in print and online throughout next week for our reports on the Dubai Opera's historic opening.
It starts on August 28 with our in-depth look at the venue and what it means for the local cultural scene, followed on August 31 with previews of Placido Domingo’s performance and Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi’s operas.
And on September 1, don’t miss our exclusive interview with Domingo.