Media Centre

Press release

Leading performers share their views on Abu Dhabi and why they want to be part of Festival

17th Mar 2010

Curtain rises on a cultural feast this weekend as the Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 opens

The Abu Dhabi Festival 2010, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) will open on Saturday (20 March) and will see a program anchored by international maestros, world premiere performances and globally renowned works.  Once again, the community has embraced the Festival, with 35 events taking place across all seven Emirates. An education program will involve schools, universities and the general public as they gain insights from leading musicians and artists. And a visual arts exhibition – Middle East Modern Masters – will see a joint collection by two of the greatest living masters of Middle Eastern art – Parviz Tanavoli and Adam Henein.

 H.E. Hoda al Khamis Kanoo comments:

“The Festival will be a global symphony of cultures. It will fuse world-class performances from the masters of the arts world with a depth of community spirit. Abu Dhabi is determined to take the lead in cultural understanding and this year we reflect this by pushing boundaries of artistic excellence and creative innovation.”

 The Festival will take place from 20 March to 7 April 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. More than 40 events will take place over three weeks, including performances in traditional, classical and jazz music, drama, fine arts, and ballet. 

 Among the highlights will be a performance by The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of one of the leading composers of the 20th century, Krzysztof Penderecki; piano recitals by two young virtuosos, Nobuyuki Tsujii and Yundi Li;  the first full opera presented at the Festival – La Boheme performed by the Puccini Festival Orchestra; A Night at the Ballet with dancers from the Bolshoi, Mariinsky and American Ballet Theatres; the jazz legend Wynton Marsalis; an outdoor concert with Il Divo; multimedia performance Pictures Reframed; Oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma; and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestros Sir Colin Davis and Kristjan Jarvi.

Many leading performers and artists are currently planning their festival performances or are already en route for Abu Dhabi.

 Maxim Beloserkovsky, principal dancer American Ballet Theatre is among them:

“For the twenty years that my wife, Irina, and I have been performing together, we have always dreamed of finding a way to bring the incredible excitement and exceptional beauty of ballet to a wider audience.  On the 30th March, we are thrilled to be able to share the stage with eight of our dearest friends and esteemed colleagues from the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre and Mariinsky Theatre companies as we present a special program featuring the jewels of classical ballet. As Artistic Director of Night at the Ballet performance I look forward to being in Abu Dhabi.”

Renowned cellist, educator and regular Festival performer Matthew Barley talks about the education program he will participate in:

 “Taking children on that voyage of discovery, and allowing them to really experience the joys of music, is one of the great pleasures of attending the Abu Dhabi Festival year after year. I am still in contact with students who attended my workshops, who have joined the music industry all these years later, and it gives me great pride to have been a part of that development. I look forward to seeing the passion and drive on which the Abu Dhabi Festival has been founded, spread across the Emirates to produce that same rich tapestry in society with musicians and artists active throughout the community.”

Flash Entertainment is bringing the world famous operatic pop quartet, Il Divo, to the Abu Dhabi Festival this year for an outdoor concert, following last year’s triumphant Andrea Bocelli performance. Sebastien Izambard, member of  Il Divo, says:

“Getting to know other cultures and countries is one of the things we enjoy most about being in Il Divo. So we are particularly looking forward to coming back to the Middle East and to perform in Abu Dhabi for the first time as part of the fantastic Abu Dhabi Festival 2010. As well as some of our most famous hits, you can expect some surprises in our performance.”

Nine time Grammy Award winner and the most outstanding jazz musician of his generation, Wynton Marsalis, will be making his Middle East debut at the Festival. He comments:

“The Middle East is one of the few areas of the world that I have never visited before, and I’m delighted to be joining a long list of great names at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2010. The core requirements for jazz are creativity, communication and community, and it seems to me that these values are expressed wholeheartedly by the Abu Dhabi Festival.”   

 Alberto Veronesi, conductor of The Puccini Festival Opera who are bringing the first full opera to the Festival says:

"I'm very honoured and proud to bring one of the most popular operas in the world, La Bohème by Puccini, for the the very first time to the prestigious Abu Dhabi Festival. The Festival offers a programme full of top international artists and orchestras.  It is an ideal pIatform for the music of Puccini, a man who was fascinated by different cultures in the western and eastern world. I live on a great Island, Sicily, and I love the island capital of Abu Dhabi, a place where Arabic culture leaves a heritage of invaluable beauty.” 

 Pictures from an Exhibition by Mussorgsky provides the inspiration for a unique performance fusing music and video. Pianist, Leif Ove Andsne explains:

 “I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Abu Dhabi and the 2010 Abu Dhabi Festival. This is a special visit for me as I am bringing a project that is particularly close to my heart.  Together with visual artist Robin Rhode, we have created Pictures Reframed, a special multimedia programme which centers around Mussorgsky’s epic piano work Pictures at an Exhibition.  It has been an amazing adventure and the Abu Dhabi Festival is the ideal place to bring this international tour to a close.”

The Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 is generously supported by main sponsor, Mubadala.  Sara Al Shorouqi, Senior Manager Marketing Communications explains why it is so important:

“We are proud to support the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival, which will celebrate our local talent and bring internationally renowned artists to Abu Dhabi; providing a rich and culturally diverse program for the whole community.”

The official airline partner of the Festival is Etihad Airways. Its chief commercial officer, Peter Baumgartner, comments:

“The Abu Dhabi Festival is one of the UAE’s leading cultural events and it continues to increase its global following year on year. This year, the seventh edition, has a fantastic line up and we look forward to welcoming many of the artists, musicians and festival visitors on board Etihad Airways’ flights as they come to Abu Dhabi to celebrate music and the arts.”