Abu Dhabi: From Thursday to Saturday night, Abu Dhabi was all music with back to back events that sent residents wanting more.
Ross Daly, the Irish instrumentalist now living in Greece, performed at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage as a part of the Music of the World Series.
Dally proved yet again his ability to master some of the most ancient musical instruments. Playing along side three other instrumentalists from Greece and Iran, Daly took the audience on an ancient journey. He is one of the few musicians to have mastered the Afghan Rabab.
On Thursday night, he played on the Tarhu, which is a new spear-like instrument designed by an Australian musician. Its poignant sound and low tones makes it a favourite for Daly. After performing last season along side Nasser Shamma's oriental orchestra, Daly was invited to come back to the UAE.
Friday night, the Abu Dhabi Classics opened at the Emirates Palace with a resounding response. The first night, renowned actor Jeremy Irons narrated the Journey of Emotions taking the audience on the historic journey of music.
Starting with the Gypsy king violinist, Roby Lakatos, the audience witnessed how the Arab world, particularly Egypt, influenced gypsy musicians and music itself.
From there, Irons narrated how music travelled to southern Egypt with the Musicians of the Nile performance. These weren't some musicians who have studied these instruments, but they were Egyptians who come from the heart of Upper Egypt where music is life. With the cheerful instruments of rababa, mizmar and the tabla, the audience could hardly restrain themselves from clapping along.
From the Nile to Germany, Irons took the audience to the jazz ensemble with Till Bronner's talented trumpet performance. From Jazz to the root of classical music, Arcadi Volodos, the pianist, received a standing ovation for his heart-thumping act. Travelling to the Americas, Soprano singer Indra Thomas sang five pieces in a New-York style performance. The final act of the night saw the lively flamenco group Arcangel bring the audience to their feet with the flamenco dancing and music and that hinted on the Arabic influence over the genre.
Saturday night was history making for Abu Dhabi with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra playing to a sold-out crowd at the Emirates Palace. Aside from it being the second time in 120 years that the orchestra performs outside of Europe, tickets to the Festival in Germany have a seven to 10 year waiting list. The Orchestra performed Richard Wagner's Act I of Die WalkÃ¼re with Christian Thielemann conducting. "Wagner's revolutionary music was inspired by his love for the orient, which he saw as the new world," Katharina Wagner, Richard Wagner's great-granddaughter and co-director of the Orchestra said at a preshow.