The month-long festival features a mix of showcase performances and interactive events including a concert by a renowned French opera singer, an haute couture fashion show, painting and photography exhibitions and business seminars focused on international finance, aviation, space research and maritime security.
Launching the Saison Francaise in Abu Dhabi earlier today, French ambassador His Excellency Alain Azouaou said:
”Over the last decades, ties between the UAE and France have strengthened steadily and today a deep friendship exists between the peoples of the UAE and France. Both countries collaborate in a number of areas including culture, higher education, security and energy, and are strongly committed to further cooperation in coming years.”
“We have organized the French Season to connect our Emirati friends, who have very high expectations of France, and the people of France, who are also keen to know more about the UAE,” the mbassador added. “We are confident this festival will reflect the strength, diversity and dynamism of the relations between the two nations.”
Her Excellency Hoda I. Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), said France’s contribution to the UAE in the areas of education, business, culture and the arts is well known.
H.E. Kanoo said: “The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation is extremely proud to be supporting the first French Season in Abu Dhabi this May. The event provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the strong cultural and business ties that exist between the two countries, and to draw inspiration for innovative and collaborative work going forward.
“As part of the month of festivities, we are delighted to present, for the first time in the Middle East, the brilliant operatic French tenor Roberto Alagna, who will perform a variety of renowned opera arias in what will be the only musical concert of the French season. We believe that bringing esteemed classical masters such as Alagna to the UAE encourages a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of other cultures, which in turn helps to inspire and enrich our growing number of local musicians and artists.”
Jean-Pierre Giraud, Président of the French Business Group in Abu Dhabi highlighted the already active French presence in the business sector in Abu Dhabi. “This provides a strong platform for France and the UAE to collaborate in commercial and industrial enterprises that reflect the strong and growing bilateral relations between our two countries”, he said.
Sultan Al Hajji, Deputy General Manager of TOTAL Abu Al Bukhoosh and Vice President of French Business Group, said: “The participation in the French Season of large French companies such as Total and many others, illustrates the excellence of the commercial and industrial relations between our two nations. French companies have been present in the UAE since the birth of the country and have enjoyed a high level of success.
French companies and institutions are committed to the long-term development of the UAE and the strengthening of our ties in all fields, economic, commercial as well as cultural.
The French Season’s cultural component begins with a showcase of French animation Films on May 4 at the Grand Al Mariah Theater in Abu Dhabi.
A fortnight-long exhibition of paintings by the French Navy’s official seascape artists, “Les peintres de la Marine,” also begins at the Marina Mall on May 4. Two visiting painters will also create paintings focused on the Abu Dhabi seascape.
Between May 7 and 17, Al Wahda Mall will host an exhibition of 15 life-size images from the prestigious book ‘Arbres d’Eternite’ (Trees of Eternity), by French photographer Suzanne Held, echoing Abu Dhabi leaders’ strong commitment to the environment.
From May 13 – 20, the capital’s Centre for Documentation & Research will host a history exhibition on Franco-Emirati relations, with items dating back to 1895.. The Zayed University campus will host the ‘100 Years in the Arabian Peninsula’ photography exhibition May 18 – 25, featuring vintage images from the last century.
The festival’s entertainment and fashion line-up includes an exclusive fashion show presenting French haute couture on May 5. Celebrated Tenor Roberto Alagna will perform in Abu Dhabi for the very first time in a spectacular concert held at the Emirates Palace Auditorium, on Monday 11 May.
Displaying a unique style of great nobility, Roberto Alagna’s distinguished career has led him to perform roles all over the world. He will be joined by soprano Nathalie Manfrino and accompanied by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Giorgio Croci.
TDIC (Tourism Development & Investment Company) will partner with French Season organizers to present a unique event on the concept of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The business showcase during the French Season starts with a day-long Eurocopter–HERMES reception at the Emirates Palace on May 3 and continues with an economic intelligence forum at the Abu Dhabi Men’s College on May 5.
Opportunities for cooperation between the Paris and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges and financial community will be highlighted at the Paris EUROplace International Financial Forum on May 18 at the InterContinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and a high-level symposium on maritime security organized by the UAE and French navies, will be held at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club on May 25-26.
French expertise in aerospace and aeronautics will be the focus of the Aerospace Forum at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies & Research on May 21, and UbiFrance will organize a B2B exhibition on arts and crafts in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council.
A gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel on June 4, featuring performances by French artists and a “culinary sculpture”, will bring the 2009 French Season to a close.
The French Season in Abu Dhabi is organized by the French Embassy in UAE and the French Business Group, Abu Dhabi. Premium sponsors of the festival are the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), Al Masaood and Caisse des Depots. Gold sponsors are Bin Murshed Holding, Etihad Airways, GDF Suez, GIE Rafale and Ocean Vision.
Monday, April 27- 2009 @ 16:00 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.