Dubai’s all-female orchestra set for first live online performance

The 'Firdaus Holiday Experience' will run for just over an hour on December 22 from 6pm

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Dubai's all-female Firdaus Orchestra is preparing for its maiden live online broadcast timed for the festive season.

The multilingual, multinational ensemble, mentored by AR Rahman, India’s award-winning composer, made its debut during Expo 2020 Dubai and has been steadily building a fan base in the region.

The musicians have been fine-tuning a diverse programme, the Firdaus Holiday Experience, that will run for a little over an hour on December 22 from 6pm.

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Firdaus Orchestra wants to showcase that music has no borders
Monica Woodman, conductor of the orchestra

The works will cover Middle Eastern melodies, ballads, flamenco and symphonies and will be broadcast from the Firdaus Studio at Expo City Dubai.

We hope to inspire and transmit a positive message of love, inclusion, equality and joy to every home, every single person and each member of a family watching us, specially the younger generations,” Monica Woodman, conductor of the Firdaus Orchestra, told The National.

“Firdaus Orchestra wants to showcase that music has no borders and could always be used to unify and celebrate life.

“Our message to our audience would be to not miss this unique opportunity to travel through music to different continents where the only rule is love and the celebration for life.”

The programme includes guest performances by celebrated musicians who have hundreds of thousands followers around the world and across social media.

The orchestra will accompany well-known Filipina pop singer Katrina Velarde when she sings a Filipino Christmas classic, Pasko Na Sinta Ko, that tells of love and heartbreak.

Ms Velarde was excited about her first performance with a full orchestra.

“I feel so much gratitude to be a part of this collaboration and girl power is felt through all our music,” she said.

“I love how everyone is so passionate about this performance.”

Solange Merdinian, an American-Argentinian opera singer, promises to captivate audiences with her powerful and haunting operatic renditions, and flamenco guitarist Mercedes will keep viewers riveted with Spanish rhythms.

American-Argentinian opera singer Solange Meridian rehearses with the Firdaus Orchestra, conducted by Monica Woodman.

The orchestra will also perform lively arrangements of Jingle Bells and other Christmas fare.

The initiative is part of the orchestra’s aim to bring western harmony and ancient melodies to listeners.

Ms Woodman urged viewers to tune in to enjoy the pieces which have been extensively researched and practised.

“Each member of Firdaus Orchestra gets emotionally involved with every single score and music that we receive.

“That helps each musician to connect in a deeper level with the pieces. Our hearts are full in every style and genre.”

The programme can be viewed on the Firdaus Orchestra YouTube page.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 5:49 PM
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