Spectacular Opera Gala brings the curtain down on triumphant Abu Dhabi Festival 2011

Press release
Published April 6th, 2011 - 02:29 GMT

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.”

Music Notes

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.

Background Information

Abu Dhabi Festival

Abu Dhabi Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. The Festival is the UAE's foremost celebration of art and culture bringing together the greatest musicians, performers and artists from both the East and West in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. It seeks to reflect the determination of the capital to take the lead in cultural understanding.

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation

Through arts education, community arts and special projects, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has been nurturing creativity across the UAE for more than two decades. Since its establishment by Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo in 1996, it has been at the forefront of the UAE’s arts sector, inspiring young people, the public and artists, enabling creative expression through a wide range of programmes and projects. By bringing together audiences and institutions, the Foundation has helped embed arts and culture in the heart of the nation.

It seeks to nurture the arts, education, culture and creativity for the benefit of society and the advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision, motivated by the belief that culture is the key that unlocks a nation’s creativity and the language that transcends borders. Culture is the anchor that unites a nation and ADMAF undertakes a broad range of initiatives and events each year to bring together diverse audiences in the UAE and internationally. As well as fostering close communities and cross-cultural dialogues, the Foundation also recognises the fundamental right for every person, regardless of age or ability, to access, understand and appreciate cultural expression.

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