I never thought that I'd manage to tick off Dubai in my first year of doing the 'Around the world in 80 operas and ballets' challenge. I was planning to stick to Europe this year, but ended up watching Misty Copeland in New York, followed by Dubai: a very last minute trip and a perfect pre-xmas present.
It's my childhood city, which until now, I only knew from photos my mum keeps in the family albums. I was too little to remember anything. Well, apart from random flashbacks of the swimming pool at Hilton Hotel... I had selective memory for good hotel pools as I baby, clearly.
Just like all the rest of the architecture in Dubai, the opera house is no different: sparkling, finessed design and top-notch execution. In every corner of the building you are surrounded by opulent quality materials and fine finishings, even just standing in the hall way and having a glass of champagne feels majestic.
The building was only completed in 2016 and designed to resemble a 'dhow'. It's a traditional sailing vessel, where the bow of the the structure houses the main stage, orchestra and seating, and the extended hull contains the waiting areas, taxi drop off and parking. Interestingly enough, before this design came to fruition, it was Zaha Hadid who made the first drafts, but for whatever reason her ideas where shelved back in 2008. Her design was certainly much more futuristic and estimated to cost £82.3 million pounds at the time. I thought, so was it about the funding ? But apparently it cost 330 million dollars to complete this one...so who knows what the story is. A mix of money and politics I'm sure.
www.flicker.com, gallery of username: aechul
Dubai Opera is a mulit-platform arts centre, they not only do classical music repertoire but theatre, events and exhibitions. It's located right next to the Burj Khalifa, so if you go for a night at the opera you can also appreciate the highest building in the world at 828m.
I wrote more about Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker' in the Warsaw National Opera blogpost if you fancy a catch up. And here are the photo highlights from Dubai and my super sexy outfit featuring a cropped jeans jacket.