'The Flying Dutchman' premiers at New York’s The Met Opera in new Abu Dhabi Festival co-production

The co-commission is part of Abu Dhabi Festival’s international programme of events

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An Abu Dhabi Festival co-production of The Flying Dutchman premiered in New York on Monday, March 2.

Richard Wagner’s opera began its near month long run at the Met Opera, with the final performance being on Friday, March 27.

In addition to the Abu Dhabi Festival, the new show was co-produced by the Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera and Quebec Opera.

Attending the lavish premiere in New York was a range of UAE dignitaries led by Abu Dhabi Festival director and head of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh and Consul General of the UAE in New York Abdalla Shaheen.

The strong early reviews from US stage critics for The Flying Dutchman elicited satisfaction from all involved, with Russian baritone Evgeny Nikitin doing a sterling job after being drafted in as a late replacement for Welsh star Bryn Terfel, who had to pull out after falling and fracturing his leg in January.

Scenes from Wagner's Flying Dutchman. The production was co-produced by the Abu Dhabi Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera and Quebec Opera. Photo Ken Howard/Met Opera

When it comes to the production, Alkhamis expressed pride in Abu Dhabi Festival’s association with the prestigious Metropolitan Opera.

“There are few opera houses in the world that have contributed as much to their craft as the Metropolitan Opera has,” she said. “There is also no better way to strengthen the arts and foster creative exchange between cultures than through collaboration. The Abu Dhabi Festival is proud to join with the Met in its first-ever partnership with an Arab institution.”

Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb shared similar sentiments: "We are delighted that the Abu Dhabi Festival was able to join us as a co-producer of the new production of Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), we are grateful for their support and look forward to future collaborations."

Abu Dhabi Festival cultural outreach

In addition to hosting its own festival in the capital — set to run from Tuesday to Thursday, March 31 to April 9 – the New York event is part of Abu Dhabi Festival's expansive international programme, which includes further co-productions in Germany, Spain and Poland.

One of which was a Berlin concert by Iraqi oud maestro Naseer Shamma on February 1.

Other events ahead include a fully commissioned concert by Syrian clarinettist Kinan Azmeh and New York quartet Brooklyn Rider, also in Berlin on Wednesday, May 13, and a trio of piano recitals in the Polish capital, Warsaw, in celebration of the 250th and 210th anniversaries of Beethoven's and Chopin's births, respectively.

Abu Dhabi Festival is also supporting a string of international shows by Palestinian crooner Omar Kamal, which includes a date in New York's Jazz at Lincoln Centre on Saturday, March 21 and Santiago, Chile later in June.

Alkhamis stated such productions and international collaborations enhance Abu Dhabi Festival’s role in building cultural bridges between the UAE and the world.

“As the United Arab Emirates experiences a cultural renaissance, the opportunities for dialogue and exchange only grow, and the Abu Dhabi Festival has become a vital platform for the cultural diplomacy that is building bridges between nations and between peoples,” she said.

For more information go to abudhabifestival.ae


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