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The Beirut-based Caracalla Dance Theatre group. Image Credit: Supplied

Music, theatre and dance will take centre stage at Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts season, which rolls out its new programme on September 4 at its new venue within Al Hosn’s Cultural Foundation.

The opening season that will feature contemporary, classical and experimental performing arts, with a roster of shows that includes performances by popular Jordanian singer Aziz Maraka, along with a night of Emirati heritage songs.

With a 900-seat indoor theatre joining the Cultural Foundation’s outdoor amphitheatre, these performing arts spaces aim to engage Abu Dhabi’s diverse community segments through various multicultural events.

Throughout September, audiences will witness mix of contemporary and classical Arabic music, dance, and theatre, melding the contemporary with the traditional.

“We are extremely proud to introduce the new theatre as a hub of entertainment, education, and most importantly, enjoyment,” said Reem Fadda, Director of the Cultural Foundation, in a statement. “With these new spaces dedicated to the performing arts, we aim to further Abu Dhabi’s offering as a place of cultural excellence as we welcome renowned local, regional, and global talents to perform.”

Roster of shows

On September 4, the 2350BC Orchestra with Naseer Shamma will perform ‘From Assyria to Seville’. Led by renowned composer and oud player Shamma, the 2350BC Orchestra will take listeners on a cultural tour of past and present.

Presenting new instruments in the oud family, the performance will highlight other global instruments including the mandolin, the guitar, and the buzuq, in a unique evening that transcends music, culture and time.

On September 6, Shamma and the Bait Al Oud orchestra will perform in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Bait Al Oud. The concert will highlight the school’s tradition of celebrating the history of Arabic music with performances by talented graduates and distinguished music instructors including Bassam Abdelsatar, Sherine Tohami, Dr Ahmad Fathalla, Faisal Al Saari and Ali Duraidi.

The first part of the concert will present elements of traditional Emirati music reformulated with a contemporary twist, while the second will feature the world premiere of the Bait Al Oud Takht — the very first professional classical Arabic orchestra, created by Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi. Shamma, Bait Al Oud’s artistic director, will give a talk preceding the concert.

Further music performances throughout the first month of the opening season include an evening with Mehad Hamad, the celebrated, pioneering singer of Emirati heritage songs, who will debut a programme dedicated to popular Arab superstars on September 12.

On 20 September, Jordanian singer Aziz Maraka will make his UAE debut with a concert of Arabic rock-jazz, featuring a selection of his hits and latest music video, ‘Mafi Mennik’.

The theatre’s opening season schedule will also host a series of classical music performances including The Tchalik Quartet on October 17.

The Cultural Foundation has also launched a yearly programme dedicated to presenting an Emirati Theatre production every second Tuesday of the month, developed in partnership with the Theatrical Association.

For the inaugural month, and on September 10, the Kalba Society for Folklore and Theatre will present the play Ahmed bint Sulaiman, influenced by the realism and charm of ‘The Sand Child’ (Tefl Al Rimal), a novel by Moroccan Francophone writer Tahar Ben Jelloun. Adapted by Naji Al-Hai and directed by Ahmed Al-Ansari, the play raises questions on controversial topics to challenge the viewer, while making a bold comment about the status quo.

On September 26 and 27, the Beirut-based Caracalla Dance Theatre will return to the Cultural Foundation. The company will perform stories from the classic Arabic folk collection ‘A Thousand and One Nights’.

The group will present a musical ballet trilogy, performed to the music of Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsako. The first act opens in the court of king Shahryar where love, and revenge run amok. The second act opens in the “bazaar of extraordinary tales” from the sands of time. The final act presents a return to Arabic heritage and tradition, with a journey to the days of the caravanserai.

Tickets for the individual performances are available through the Cultural Foundation’s website and prices vary.