Dubai Opera: A World-Class Venue for Performing Arts

Marvel at this astonishing performance theatre that hosts live shows as diversified and amazing as the city itself

Dubai Opera dhow-shaped architecture (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Located in Downtown Dubai under the shadow of Burj Khalifa, Dubai Opera’s iconic architecture is inspired by the dhow, a traditional sailing vessel used in the Arabian region and a symbol of Dubai’s maritime history. It is especially resplendent at night when the glass exterior of the building is lit up by LEDs as visitors are welcomed into the plaza, by a series of water fountains and the sculpture ‘Khalvat’ by the Iranian artist Sahand Hesamiyan. 

Verdi’s Aida performances at Dubai Opera (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The diverse programming that Dubai Opera has presented since it opened in August 2016 is a direct reflection of the city it calls home. It is a place for people to experience the variety of live productions you would expect in a global city.

Dubai Opera offers the best of traditional opera, classical ballet, orchestral and choral performances as well as Broadway musicals, comedy, live bands in concert and specialist talents from across the Arab World and further afield.    

Dubai Opera dhow-shaped architecture (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Dubai Opera was designed by Atkin’s lead architect Janus Rostock and is a highly adaptable building. The main 2000-seater auditorium has three different configurations. 

Dubai Opera chandelier (2016) by Designed by Libor SostakDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Inside wood is the predominant material which provides strong acoustics, while the waiting areas on all three floors are open plan in design and collectively lit by a spectacular chandelier titled ‘Symphony’.

Dubai Opera chandelier (2016) by Designed by Libor SostakDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Created by Libor Sostak, in-house designer at the Czech glass manufacturing company Lasvit, the lighting installation continues the connection with Dubai’s history, made of strings of individually crafted glass pearls. Weighing five tons, its movement can be controlled to reflect different types of music. 

‘Declaration’ by El Seed (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

In 2018 El Seed unveiled a new commission ‘Declaration’ in the Dubai Opera Garden. 

‘Declaration’ by El Seed (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The complex sculptural forms which extend for 30 meters, illustrate a quotation from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid: “art in all its colors and types reflects the culture of the nations, their history and civilization”.

‘Declaration’ by El Seed (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

For El Seed, this ambitious piece is a declaration of love and respect of both Arabic calligraphy and the city of Dubai

Dubai Opera's stage (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

 In its first four years, Dubai Opera has welcomed over 650,000 visitors and put on more than 700 performances, presenting an active programme of live, streamed performances on its Instagram channel and virtual classes in partnership with Diverse Performing Art.

Dubai opera Signague at the entrance (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

It also initiated an open call for talent ‘From Home to Stage’ which received 800 submissions, the winner selected by a professional jury given the opportunity to perform at Dubai Opera as an opening act in their autumn season.   

Hussain Al Jassimi, performance at Dubai Opera (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The first performance after re-opening was the Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassimi, performing with the Lebanese singer Yara as part of an Eid charity concert. 

The ballet Giselle performances at Dubai Opera (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Their 2021 season brings the Kuwaiti comic Tareq Al Ali and Algerian musician Enrico Macias, the ballet Giselle and the operas Carmen and Aida before performances by the leading Syrian musician Iyad Rimawi and the Gypsy Kings.

Verdi’s Aida performances at Dubai Opera (2016)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Dubai Opera’s Chief Executive, Jasper Hope has always been guided by three main principles: variety, quality and community. These remain key as the organization continues to maintain its position as the leading performing arts destination in the city and becomes globally recognized for its unique achievements

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