Three centuries after the Middle East's classic One Thousand and One Nights collection of folk tales was first translated for a European audience, the cultural wheel has turned full circle. Tomorrow evening, as part of the Al Ain Classics Festival, opera-lovers will be treated to a performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro - sung in Arabic. And on March 20, the festival presents Richard III: an Arabic Tragedy, an adaptation of the Shakespeare play commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Britain.
As well as helping to establish the growing reputation of Abu Dhabi as a significant cultural hub, these prestigious performances are evidence that the arts - even opera and theatre, in which language is crucial - know no national boundaries. Queen Scheherazade - not to mention Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad the Sailor - would be very proud.