The festival will present 46 events across 15 venues.
A distinguished mix of artistes performing American classic music, orchestra and jazz as well as a slew of cultural programmes will wow residents at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2020 that will run from March 31 to April 9 next year.
The festival will present 46 events across 15 venues, feature more than 380 international artistes from 11 different countries, masterpieces by more than 19 composers, three co-productions and commissions, four Arab-world debuts, three world premieres and two world tours by artistes and genres across poetry and theatre, opera, ballet, orchestra and jazz.
Now in its 17th year, the festival will celebrate unity and the legacy of the UAE’s Cultural Foundation – the capital’s home of arts, culture and creativity, authorities announced on Monday. It will consolidate the UAE’s status as a forum for different cultures and showcase its commitment to the values of tolerance and openness.
The festival’s headline programme will include performances by Reem Almenhali and Joanna Settle as they make their world debut with mesmerising Arabic and English language poetry weaved together with projected images and movement in three pre-festival performances of Al Raheel.
Departure: the Arab world debut of The Cleveland Orchestra, widely acknowledged as being among the world’s very best, will be hosting four sensational evenings under the baton of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. These include opera with British baritone Sir Simon Keenlyside, classics with the world’s favourite cellist and previous festival headliner, Yo-Yo Ma, as well as two performances with one of the world’s leading dance companies, American Ballet Theatre, in its masterful interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It will be the first time that these two world famous institutions will collaborate on this production, marking a significant achievement for the festival.
A new component of the festival would be the Abu Dhabi Festival Youth Orchestra – providing a platform for the UAE’s young talented musicians. This time, it will feature the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra. Concluding the festival’s headline programme, two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will bring his earthy, cross-pollinated brand of jazz, soul, and gospel to the UAE for the first time.
Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Our celebration of the Cultural Foundation, under the theme of ‘unity’, is more than a celebration of a restored historic building.
“It is a celebration of a pioneering vision, by the late Sheikh Zayed, to the country, to the nation, and to the whole world – namely that culture, science and enlightenment are the main pillars of the renaissance of humanity.”
Steven Bondy, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in the UAE, said: “I am thrilled that this year so many outstanding American artists will participate, contributing to the tremendous collaboration between the US and the UAE throughout the history of this event. This is cultural diplomacy at its finest – sharing the best of American arts with audiences in the UAE.”
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