Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation celebrate joint excellence

A handout photo of Gran Teatre del Liceu's artistic & production director general, Christina Scheppelmann (L), signs letter of agreement with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts (ADMAF) founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo. (Courtesy: ADMAF)
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The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has recently signed a Letter of Corporation with Barcelona’s prestigious opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu. The latter’s artistic & production director general, Christina Scheppelmann, was in Emirates Palace on Monday for the ceremony. She tells us why the new collaboration is a great achievement for both organisations.

So how much of a big deal is this partnership with ADMAF?

It is a big deal for us. It is an intercultural artistic collaboration that is rare. If you look at arts festivals and foundations you rarely see these kinds of agreements and long term thinking as far a collaboration and development. I think it is special and frankly, in these days, dialogues between different countries and cultures are crucial. Art is very important and music is the most universal language. If you want to create a dialogue that crosses cultures than music is it.

What was it about ADMAF and the Gran Teatre del Liceu that make it great fit for a partnership?

First of all, ADMAF has such a fascinating trajectory and a high level programme. At the same time, the Lieceu, which opened in 1847, has maintained a high level of standards in the operatic world with concerts and ballets. The goal of presenting high quality work is a value we both share in our respective part of the worlds.

With ADMAF being very young in comparison to the Gran Teatre del Liceu, do you envisage the partnership taking a mentoring role?

I would hate to see it that way, because I think the Liceu and its audience have a lot to learn about the musical culture in the Abu Dhabi and the Gulf. We can choose to show our classical music and ballet repertoire and in turn Abu Dhabi can show our audience, who don’t know anything, about your culture and musical background.

What kind of initiatives will we see as a result of the partnership?

We talked about doing an exhibit here in Barcelona in our foyer space about Abu Dhabi and ADMAF and bringing some musicians from there to perform. We also could do some lectures and joint concerts and through that inform our audience.

Is there a chance that Gran Teatre del Liceu will take part in future editions of the Abu Dhabi Festival?

Absolutely, but it wont be next year. If you look at the general planning of opera companies in Europe and everywhere else, we plan up to two or three year ahead. So I can’t take an orchestra now and send them to the Abu Dhabi Festival, but the intention is definitely there. We are starting with small steps; perhaps some singers coming to Abu Dhabi for some recitals as it fits into ADMAF’s and ours schedule, then we can then expand into bringing a production at some point.

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