Tales of unforgettable romance and powerful drama, expressed as timeless masterpieces by Mozart, Bizet, Puccini and Verdi, will be told in celebration of Italy's national day.
The Italian Opera Recital to be held tomorrow at the First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, will be hosted by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Industry and Commerce Office, UAE, and will feature international artists.
Some of the most famous arias from works including Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Bizet's Carmen, Puccini's La Bohème and Verdi's Rigoletto will be interpreted by artists such as the Dubai-based soprano Monica De Rosa McKay.
McKay, who boasts the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti as a mentor, says: "The audience will enjoy a magical evening of wonderful singing and music." She will be joined by the baritone Giuseppe Deligia, from the Royal Opera House Muscat and the Moldavian pianists Vitali Mihailiuc and Larisa Capatina.
"Opera and Italy are one and the same thing," says McKay. "Celebrating our national day with opera is like putting on a display of one of the most beautiful parts of our musical culture."
Starting with the 18th century and Mozart, different periods of music will be explored. "There are specific melodies in opera that are immortal in that even centuries after being written, they continue to live on," says McKay.
It was during her studies at the Conservatory in Bologna, Italy, that McKay got to work with Pavarotti, whom she credits as guiding her artistic journey. "The most important thing I learnt from the maestro was humility. Even though he was one of the greatest tenors who ever lived, he still was so accessible and easy to speak to," she says.
Giuseppe Deligia, who has been involved with the management of the Royal Opera House Muscat since its inaugural season, says opera is a "wonderfully expressive art form" that deals with the full extent of the human condition.
"People love, laugh, fight and die - it was the soap opera and pop music of its day. The breadth of the repertoire is vast so there's something for everyone," Deligia says. "It's exciting to present this kind of programme here in Dubai and I hope we'll be able to introduce this wonderful music to a new audience."
Vitali Mihailiuc and Larisa Capatina, who are also based in Dubai, will also perform piano duos such as the Overture from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Pasquale from Bizet's Carmen.
Professor Alessandra Priante, the Italian cultural attaché of the Gulf area, will be presenting and narrating the recital. "Opera is a great means of communication," she says. "It was the movies of the times.
"This will be a complex and beautiful portrayal of our culture through the unforgettable arias of some outstanding opera masterpieces, all executed through and with the passion and emotions of Monica's voice together with Giuseppe Deligia."
McKay stresses such official support is fundamental in promoting cultural awareness. "I think this is perfectly aligned with Sheikh Mohammed's wish to support opera, as he has recently launched the proposal to build a new opera house in Dubai, so this will serve as a cultural bridge between Italy and the UAE."
The Emirati fashion designer Afra Al Abdulla, who studied at Istituto di Moda Burgo in Milan, will design the costumes for the event.
"Afra has designed some amazing dresses for my previous concerts - and the costumes for La Traviata last November were unbelievable," says McKay.
The costumes are an integral aspect of any opera, she says, as they help create atmosphere and add greatly to the experience.
The Italian Opera Recital begins at 8:30pm tomorrow at the First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah followed by a VIP cocktail reception at Segreto Lounge. Tickets cost Dh150 balcony, Dh160 regular stalls and Dh250 for VIP which includes the cocktail reception, and are available through Madinat Theatre Box Office and Time Out Tickets. Visit www.madinattheatre.com