Blue Planet concert makes a splash in Abu Dhabi

The concert, which has wowed sold-out venues around the world, screened footage that revealed to the audience what impact man has had on the world’s oceans over the past 50 years.
Visitors to the Volvo Ocean Race Village on the Corniche Breakwater in Abu Dhabi last night were treated to a performance of the BBC’s highly acclaimed ‘Blue Planet in Concert’ show, conducted by the composer, George Fenton. Ravindranath K / The National
Visitors to the Volvo Ocean Race Village on the Corniche Breakwater in Abu Dhabi last night were treated to a performance of the BBC’s highly acclaimed ‘Blue Planet in Concert’ show, conducted by the composer, George Fenton. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Looking at the history of the world’s oceans, it was a night billed as a majestic mix of cinematography, music and nature – and it didn’t disappoint.

The Arabian Gulf debut of BBC Worldwide’s highly anticipated Blue Planet in Concert opened the Abu Dhabi stopover of this year’s Volvo Ocean Race in a 90-minute show featuring Oscar-nominated composer George Fenton.

Crowds filled the seating area, eagerly awaiting the 78-piece orchestra. The musicians performed on a purpose-built floating stage in the water off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, under a 10-metre-wide screen displaying images including whales, dolphins and turtles.

For Helen Williams, 77, who is back in the emirate for a third time this year, the concert was a special event in more ways than one.

“My daughter is in the show,” she said. “I always try to catch every concert she is in.”

A big fan of the show, and of its presenter Sir David Attenborough, the native of York, England, said she was delighted to see the concert in her home away from home.

And the British tourist was not the only one to travel to the capital to catch the show.

Roy and Terry Gadsby came from Doha to attend the concert with their friends Tina and John Cook, who live in the emirate.

“I love classical music so I am very excited,” said Ms Gadsby, from the UK. “Especially it being a BBC (production).”

“We read about it in the news and thought we would give it a go,” said Mr Cook.

Teachers Stephanie Ioan, 30, a Canadian expatriate, and Larissa Dascalu, 37, from Romania, also attended.

“We were very excited about the concert and the fact it is the first time it’s been held on a floating stage,” said Ms Ioan.

“The whole setting is fantastic. We are very lucky.”

For Elizabeth Tonner, the concert was a breath of fresh air.

“It’s good for Abu Dhabi and great to do something different,” said the Scottish expatriate, who watched the concert with her family after spending the day watching the Volvo Ocean Race Village festivities from a boat.

Shortly after 8pm, the spotlights fixed on the stage as the audience were told that, despite the world-famous sites where the show had been staged – including the Hollywood Bowl, Sydney Opera House and London’s Hyde Park – never before had there been a more spectacular or suitable setting.

The concert, which has wowed sold-out venues around the world, screened footage that revealed to the audience what impact man has had on the world’s oceans over the past 50 years.

A second 90-minute concert will be held tonight.

jbell@thenational.ae

Published: December 12, 2014 04:00 AM

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