The sounds of opera’s best known arias brought the auditorium of the Emirates Palace to life last night for the rousing finale of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2011, presented by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. In a fitting finale to the Festival for 2011, the spectacular voices of Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and soprano Ekaterina Siurina delighted the audience with superb music provided by the Festival’s orchestra-in-residence the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by the specialist in Italian opera, Maestro Nicola Luisotti.
In a truly unmissable performance, the stars showcased a selection of opera’s best-loved and well-known classics including arias from Rossini’s ‘Guillaume Tell’ and ‘Barbiere di Siviglia’, Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ and ‘Don Giovanni’ and Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ amongst others.
Speaking directly after the performance, Her Excellency Mrs Hoda I Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “This evening’s Opera Gala has proven to be a most spectacular end to an amazing Abu Dhabi Festival in 2011. The blend of music and song was utterly captivating throughout. It is always a delight to welcome international talent to Abu Dhabi. Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ekaterina Siurina have provided the audience with wonderful entertainment this evening. I would also like to offer my sincere gratitude to our 2011 orchestra-in-residence, the Russian National Orchestra, and the fabulous maestro Nicola Luisotti for their energy and enthusiasm throughout their tenure in Abu Dhabi.”
The Russian National Orchestra (RNO), conducted by the fabulous maestro Nicola Luisotti got the evening off to a stunning start with Rossini’s overture to his opera ‘La Gazza Ladra’ (The Thieving Magpie), written in 1817, before welcoming Dmitri Hvorostovsky to the stage for a spell-binding performance of ‘Resta immobile’ from Rossini’s opera ‘Guillaume Tell’ (William Tell). The celebration of the music of Rossini continued with soprano Ekaterina Siurina’s interpretation of ‘Una voce poco fa’, followed by a beautiful duet from the pair ‘Dunque io son’, both of which are drawn from Rossini’s most famous opera ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ (The Barber of Seville).
The rousing music of Mozart’s overture to ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ (The Marriage of Figaro) gave the stage back to the RNO and fantastic conductor Nicola Luisotti, setting the scene for the beautiful aria ‘Deh vieni, von tardar’, from the same production. Closing the fantastic first half was Hvorostovsky’s commanding performance of the world famous ‘Largo al factotum’ from Rossini’s ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’.
The overture to Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’ provided the opening to a second half packed with opera classics. With three pieces from the opera ‘Rigoletto’, including ‘Caro nome’, ‘Cortigiani vil razza’ and ‘Mio padre! Solo per me l’infamia’ music and song combined to celebrate the talents of Verdi and one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. The work of Mozart rounded off an amazing evening with ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘Idomeneo’ taking centre stage. The haunting overture to ‘Don Giovanni’ led seamlessly into Siurina’s performance of ‘Zeffiretti lusinghieri’ from Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’, before returning to ‘Don Giovanni’ for a triumphant close. ‘Fin ch’han dal vino’ gave Hvorostovsky the opportunity to display his masterful command of the classics whilst the rousing final duet, ‘La ci darem la mano’ brought the house down as the curtain fell on the Abu Dhabi Festival 2011.
Abu Dhabi Festival 2011
The Abu Dhabi Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The region’s premier festival of arts and culture, over the last two weeks, the Festival has hosted a diverse range of events. In addition to the main programme hosted at the Emirates Palace, the Festival’s thriving education and community programmes have engaged more people than ever before with events across the seven emirates.