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Abu Dhabi Festival 2013 announces spectacular star-studded line-up for 10th anniversary

United Arab Emirates: Monday, December 10 - 2012 @ 14:20

ADF 2013 will bring a spectacular three-week programme of world-class and innovative artistic talent to the UAE capital, further affirming itself as one of the leading cultural events on the world stage.

The Festival’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of cultural and artistic expression runs throughout the entire fabric of the 2013 Festival with a schedule combining classical music, theatre and performing arts, ballet and fine arts.

With world-renowned performers including the prolific violinist Joshua Bell and the award-winning pianist Yundi, ADF2013 features ground-breaking productions such as the Institut du Monde Arabe visual arts exhibition ‘25 Years of Arab Creativity’, and the thrilling adaption of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ by Globe Education, Shakespeare’s Globe. The Festival’s community and education programmes offer a wide range of free events and experiences for families and young people across the UAE, such as the fascinating ‘Story Mile’. ADF 2013 promises to maintain its standing as a ‘festival of firsts’ for the region and the world, while shining the spotlight on the creative potential and artistic identity of Abu Dhabi.

Her Excellency Mrs Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The Festival’s vision is to both support and capture the multi-cultural essence of Abu Dhabi. Aligned with the capital city’s urban planning and economic diversification, the Abu Dhabi Festival has supported Abu Dhabi’s identity over the past 10 years as a crossroads of creativity. By creating a platform for community arts, we are fostering a spirit of discovery and an appetite for cultural expression that strengthens society. In 2013, Abu Dhabi Festival shall celebrate the past, the present and the future of artistic innovation, as it continues to build bridges across the world through ongoing strategic partnerships. By investing in creativity, we nurture mutual understanding and cultural dialogue between countries and communities everywhere.”

The Abu Dhabi Festival’s Country of Honour 2013 will be Spain, a country with whom the UAE has a long and rich history of migration, economic relations and political alliances. The 2013 Festival looks forward to celebrating this rich history with an unforgettable programme of international artists, led by the Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo.

H.E. Mrs Kanoo was joined at the Festival launch by distinguished guests including: Oussama Al Rahbani, the famous Lebanese composer; Mona Khazindar, Director General of the Institut du Monde Arabe; Dr Habib Ghuloom Al Attar, Director of Cultural and Community Activities at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development; and Amina Taher Manager, Mubadala Group Communications.

Main programme highlights

Opera remains a focus of the festival this year with An Evening with Placido Domingo. Widely regarded as one of the world’s finest and most influential singers in the history of opera, Placido Domingo, supported by Grammy Award winning soprano Ana Maria Martinez, will capture the audience’s imagination with an extraordinary evening of operatic arias. The world-class tenor will be accompanied by the renowned Czech Philharmonic and long-time friend, conductor Eugene Kohn.

Previous Abu Dhabi Festival editions have welcomed the luminaries of opera – Jose Carreras, Anna Netrebko, Angela Georghiu, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Building on this legacy and its partnership with The Met Live in HD initiative, the Festival will present a Festival Gala with Bryn Terfel: an evening of beloved opera arias, popular favorites and traditional Welsh songs performed by the acclaimed baritone Byrn Terfel, alongside rising star Viktoria Yastrebova and the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Jiri Belohavek.

In celebration of the 10th edition, the evening will also reveal ADF’s anniversary commission with the, world premiere of ‘Poème Orientale’. Composed by the Franco-Lebanese poet and composer, Bechara El-Khoury’s work succeeds earlier commissions by Radio France and Orchestre Symphonique Français, among others.

Classical music enthusiasts will enjoy an unforgettable evening this year: Joshua Bell and the Czech Philharmonic. Widely regarded as one the most dynamic virtuoso violinists of our era, Joshua Bell will perform one of the greatest concertos, Bruch’s lyrical and passionate Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor in a repertoire accompanied by the great Czech Philharmonic, led by conductor, Jiri Belohlavek.

Ballet continues to be a favourite in 2013 with two performances by The Mariinsky Ballet. Performing ‘Homage to Fokine’ the ballet is accompanied by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, and will present a colourful evening of dance featuring four distinctly different but equally compelling short ballets, all originally choreographed by the legendary Michel Fokine. The Mariinsky Ballet is one of the most famous classic ballet companies in the world, and was founded in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1740.

Piano Passion: Yundi in Recital will offer an enchanted evening of Chopin and Beethoven’s most romantic and beloved sonatas by one of today’s most dynamic pianists, Yundi. Known for his sensitive style, Yundi is regarded as the leading interpreter of Chopin’s music.

Turning the spotlight on visual arts, this year the festival will present the Arab world premiere of ‘25 Years of Arab Creativity’, a high-calibre exhibition organised by Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) and curated by Ihab el-Labban. Presenting over 30 artists from 13 Arab nations, including two Emirati artists, and a multitude of mediums, the exhibition celebrates IMA’s 25th and ADF’s 10th anniversaries, and offers an exhaustive panorama of contemporary Arab creation. Jazz will make its popular return to the Festival as Brazil’s Gilberto Gil brings his rich rhythms to Abu Dhabi Festival for an intimate, acoustic concert. Gil’s unique musical style draws upon Samba and Bossa Nova, African music, Rock, Roots and Reggae. A versatile performer, Gilberto Gil is an iconic artist and musical ambassador, with a breath-taking career spanning over 46 years.

The Festival champions the very best of Arabic artistic expression. This year’s exclusive performance will come in the form of ‘The Rahbani Legacy’ by the Lebanese composer Oussama Rahbani. This Abu Dhabi Festival 2013 commission pays tribute to the musical legacy of the late Rahbani brothers – Mansour and Assi – and their unparalleled contribution to the music, theatre and poetry of the Middle East during the 20th century.

Fostering a generation of cultural ambassadors: Educational initiatives

The Abu Dhabi Festival is committed to providing support and inspiration through its many education initiatives that run parallel to, and beyond, the Festival.

After the success of ‘Macbeth’ in 2011 and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in 2012, the acclaimed UK theatre company, Globe Education at Shakespeare’s Globe, returns to Abu Dhabi with an exciting new production of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’. The creative, fast paced interpretation is an ideal introduction to Shakespeare for young people and students. Offering a fresh take on the classic play, it will provide a memorable experience for those of all ages who are more familiar with the play.

As an annual highlight of the Festival, Young Artists’ Day returns to nurture the competitive spirit of young talent and inspire the UAE’s future generation of artists. This year, aspiring musicians will perform alongside The Declassified ensemble selected by Carnegie Hall.

Not missing any age group, the Festival’s Education Programme will again feature productions from its co-commission with Manchester International Festival: ‘Music Boxes’. After its successful Festival tour of the 2012 hit ‘Baby O’, Scottish Opera returns with ‘Sensory O;’ a unique interactive musical experience for toddlers.

Highlighting the transformative power of arts and music in the intellectual growth of children and young adults, the Festival has enhanced the annual series of university workshops, ‘Riwaq Al Fikr/The Festival Debates’ and Back to School with Mubadala in order to bring the arts to more schools and colleges than ever before.

Celebrating the spirit of ‘Bilad Al Khayr’: Community commitment

The Abu Dhabi Festival Community programme seeks to integrate arts and music in different communities across the seven Emirates. In doing so, it inspires those who wish to learn and experience cultural diversity while supporting community-based initiatives that foster the development of different forms of expression. By upholding the late Sheikh Zayed’s legacy of ‘Bilad Al Khayr (Land of Blessings)’, the Festival plays an important role in re-awakening traditional art forms, and bringing them and many other cultural assets to wider audiences.

This year, in special tribute to Emirati culture and heritage, the ADF Community programme includes ‘Bil Arabi’, a magical blend of poetry and music directed by Dr. Habib Ghuloom Al Attar, Director of Cultural Activities in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development. Touring Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, the production features the talented Iraqi oud musician, Khalid Saleh, and Syrian vocalist, Samar Nasser.

Another new initiative this year contributes to the revival of traditional Emirati storytelling. The ‘Story Mile’ is a unique collaboration by over 100 students from Zayed University, who will share family stories with each other through a series of workshops, culminating in a storytelling exhibition during the Abu Dhabi Festival (March 10th to March 29th).

There will also be a range of music and arts workshops in orphanages, hospitals, retirement homes and special needs centres across the UAE aimed at empowering, and encouraging all age groups to explore the arts.

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Monday, December 10- 2012 @ 14:20 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.

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