The Dubai Opera opened on August 31 with a sold out show featuring top talent in a dhow-inspired theater.
The U.A.E. is all about breaking the mold when it comes to hospitality and entertainment options. Dubai will soon be home to the Middle East’s first rainforest and the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be an outpost of the world-famous Paris museum, surrounded entirely by water. So, when it came to building an opera house you better believe they were aiming for the best.
Dubai Opera is attempting to rival the famous Sydney Opera House, with 2,000 seats and an elegantly designed marble interior boasting a dramatic multi-story 11,000-pound glass chandelier. But perhaps even more striking than the glamorous décor is the building itself, inspired by the dhow, the traditional ship found in the Persian Gulf. Atkins architects, who also created the Burj Al Arab, the Crescent in Baku, and the China Huraong Tower, were behind the design. Like the Australian landmark, famous for its sail-like design, so too will the Dubai performance center carry a nautical theme.
“We looked into Dubai’s heritage and traditions for inspiration to find an architectural language which would celebrate the city’s past, as well as supporting its future," said Janus Rostock, Atkins’ design director and lead architect for the Dubai Opera project in a press release.
Dubai Opera’s chief executive Jasper Hope agrees, remarking on the potential future icon status in an interview with local radio station Dubai Eye: “It’s got an incredible shape. When people look at it, they recognize it as a dhow and they understand the history of Dubai and why the dhow is so important and they see it reflected in Dubai Opera.”
While the Sydney Opera House, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations, has some of the best views of the harbor, Dubai Opera has that covered too. The rooftop restaurant and sky garden look on to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world, and the Dubai Fountain.
All the luxurious allure seems to be working. The inaugural concert on August 31 sold out in under three hours when tickets were released to the public in April.
“Tonight was a musical moment in history,” Hope said in a release about the first show. “Dubai Opera looked stunningly beautiful tonight and those fortunate enough to be inside can confirm it sounded spectacular with a wonderful performance by the legendary Plácido Domingo.”
Domingo's was one of 200 performances set to take place in the first season, but only 75 have been announced. While the opening sold out quickly, there are still tickets available for other upcoming shows, including The Pearl Fishers and The Barber of Seville, as well as Giselle, performed by The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia. The Theatre will also be one of the stops for tenor José Carreras' final world tour.