europe’s leading directors fly in for abu dhabi theatre & performing arts workshops

Published March 9th, 2008 - 01:11 GMT

Four of Europe’s leading artistic directors are on their way to the UAE to conduct a three-day theatre and performing arts workshop programme as part of this year’s expanded Al Ain Classical Music Festival.

The workshops, covering a range of disciplines for would-be performing artists, arts institutions staff and university arts students, are free of charge to everyone in the UAE as the country’s capital progresses its arts education programme.

Staged under a co-operative agreement between Abu Dhabi Concert Committee with Italy’s famed Accademia Teatro alla Scala – the theatre school of Milan’s renowned opera house – the workshops will be conducted by: Risto Nieminem, Festival Director of the annual Helsinki Festival; Gaston Fournier, Co-ordinator of Accademia Teatro Alla Scala’s Artistic Department; and leading directors Cecilia Balestra and Carmelo Di Gennaro.

The workshops will run at the ADMA/OPCO Auditorium from March 9 to 11.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for amateurs and professionals involved in the theatre and performing arts scene to absorb knowledge from some of the most eminent experts in the business,” said Massimo Nebuloni, Project and Tour Manager of Accademia Teatro Alla Scala, who is directing this year’s Al Ain Classical Music Festival.

The workshops begin with a three-hour workshop on March 9 by Risto Nieminem who will outline some of the secrets behind the staging of successful arts festivals, using Helsinki as a case study. The same day, Gaston Fournier will deliver an in-depth look at what goes into artistic direction and the future of opera in the Internet age.

Day two sees celebrated musician Cecilia Balestra cover a detailed look at the international market for serious music from the role of artist management agencies to the vagaries of copyright. Cecilia will also being involved in a March 11 workshop when she will focus on the project management and programming of serious music.

March 11 will also feature a session by Carmelo Di Gennaro on opera education. She will use the education department of the Madrid Royal Opera House as a case study and then explore the profiles of the ‘French’ model against that of the British.

The workshop programme is the latest initiative in Abu Dhabi’s ongoing campaign to nurture a national psyche of arts appreciation ahead of the opening of the world-class cultural assets planned for the Cultural District of its Saadiyat Island development. These include the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum, a performing arts centre and maritime museum.

“Education is central to achieving the positioning of Abu Dhabi as a global cultural hub in line with the direction laid down by Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi and General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,” said Zaki Nusseibeh, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority For Culture & Heritage (ADACH). “It also underpins the Government’s determination to open up new career and training horizons for Emiratis.

“In co-operating with Accademia Teatro alla Scala, Abu Dhabi has once again demonstrated its willingness to partner with proven and reputable international organisations to deliver education, events and facilities which are truly world-class in character.”

This year’s Al Ain Classical Music Festival, which is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been expanded from its previous three-day programme to 11 days from March 6 to 16 and will feature a major concert, and other events, in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi concert, on March 8th at the Emirates Palace Auditorium will be a performance of Wagner’s works by 120 members of the Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the world’s longest established orchestra and ranked among the world’s top five, under the direction of its principal conductor, Fabio Luisi. The concert will be recorded by Sony TV making it the first major classical recording ever made in the UAE capital and the first Wagner recording in the Arab World.

More information on the workshops, including registration, is available on



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