Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 August 2020

Dubai Opera curtain to rise again with performance by Hussain Al Jassmi

The Eid concert and an Umm Kulthum hologram performance signals the revival of live shows in Dubai

Hussain Al Jassmi will perform at Dubai Opera in front of a live audience. 
Hussain Al Jassmi will perform at Dubai Opera in front of a live audience. 

The curtain is set to rise at Dubai Opera once again.

Four months after closing as a safety measure because of the coronavirus pandemic, the glittering Downtown venue is ready to welcome an audience for concerts featuring Hussain Al Jassmi and Umm Kulthum’s hologram.

Dubai Opera tells The National that all performances in the venue will run at limited capacity, with empty seats between individuals and groups of people.

Opening the season’s return will be UAE superstar Al Jassmi.

Fresh from a series of online performances, including April’s star-studded One World Together virtual festival featuring Lady Gaga and John Legend, the Emirati singer will headline an Eid charity concert on Saturday, August 1, alongside Lebanese singer Yara.

Dubbed Celebrate Giving, the concert is organised by pan-Arab broadcaster MBC, with all proceeds going towards the Unicef Reimagine campaign.

After this concert, there will be the return of the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum to Dubai Opera – well, virtually, anyway.

After a successful run of shows last December, the Kulthum hologram spectacular will return to Dubai with four performances running from Thursday to Saturday, August 6 to 8.

Both events will run as part of the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, a citywide celebration with retail discounts and cultural events.

The Dubai Opera show announcements come on the back of last weekend’s Tomorrowland Around the World dance music festival held at Dubai Festival City Arena, in addition to the return of one of the region’s longest-running comedy nights, The Laughter Factory.

Let’s take a closer look at the concerts coming our way.

Celebrate Giving: Saturday, August 1

It is fitting that Al Jassmi will be the person to bring Dubai Opera alive again. The Emirati musician has been immersed in the UAE’s cultural efforts to raise awareness of the pandemic.

In addition to being the only Arab artist to take part in the One World Together festival, he also released odes encouraging fans to stay optimistic and resilient amid the pandemic.

One was Benady, a track in which he insists this crisis “will pass” because “we are stronger”.

“We have been through worse and with God’s grace this will pass, and we will overcome it,” Al Jassmi sings. “Together hand in hand with determination and purpose we will overcome. It won’t be long for us to overcome this crisis.”

Meanwhile, his co-star Yara is also a seasoned performer. The Lebanese singer is renowned for her dynamic voice that is easily at home on ballads such as Hob Kabeer, or traditional folk tunes such as Shefto Min Biid.

The concert will also feature guest performances from some of the young singing talent that featured on MBC’s The Voice: Kids.

Tickets begin from Dh495, with the concert beginning at 10pm. For details go to the Dubai Opera website.

Umm Kulthum Hologram Live: Thursday, August 6 to Saturday, August 8

After selling out its first run of shows at Dubai Opera in December, the Kulthum hologram concert is back to enchant UAE audiences.

With technology always evolving, expect an updated version of the digital diva that was created by an international team of artists.

Egyptian actress Sabreen, who starred as Kulthum in the 1999 eponymous Ramadan ­series, was enlisted to recreate her stage movements, which were digitally rendered by technicians hailing from the Arab world, China and the US.

The National attended the hologram’s world premiere at last year's Winter at Tantora Festival in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia.

Our review noted: “Songs such as Alf Leila Wa Leila (1969) and Enta Omri (1964) remain a showcase for a voice that carried the emotion of the historic, revolutionary times Umm Kulthum operated in.

“From the fervour and passion of pan-Arabism to the quiet indignation of a woman challenging societal norms, all of these elements are found in the diva’s voice, which ranged from a plaintive wail to a resigned hush.”

We cannot see her live, but hearing her voice in a venue such as Dubai Opera will still certainly be moving.

Tickets begin from Dh295. Thursday, August 6 concert begins at 9.30pm. There are two shows the following day at 6.30pm and 10.30pm. The last concert on Saturday, August 8 begins at 9pm. For details go to the Dubai Opera website.

Updated: July 27, 2020 06:43 PM

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