The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) announced a stunning line-up of performers for the 6th Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival. The festival will feature ballet, opera, classical and Arabic music.

The two week festival runs from 21 March to 2 April 2009 and is primarily hosted at the Emirates Palace. Tickets go on sale from Tuesday, with tickets for the Bocelli concert available on Wednesday 11 February.

The Festival is presented by ADMAF with executive producer IMG Artists, the world's leading performing artist management company. Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) is the title sponsor. This year's festival sees collaboration with Flash Entertainment who, together with ADMAF, are bringing Andrea Bocelli to Abu Dhabi for the first time on 27 March 2009.

The festival is an integral part of ADMAF's year-long efforts to complement Abu Dhabi's cultural vision. The festival aims to feature Abu Dhabi as a prominent cultural destination, while promoting the unique role of music and arts in cultural cooperation.

From this year onwards, the theme of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival will be Bilad Al Khair. The UAE is known as ‘Bilad Al Khair' – the land of blessings, owning to the fact of a just leader, secure citizens, and natural resources. The festival will become a celebration of this by bringing together leading cultural organisations and community groups from all over the UAE to recognize their efforts in benefiting society.

The programme: Performing arts and visual arts

A special Opera Gala will kick off the festival with a performance by one the most gifted opera singer of our time, Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and internationally acclaimed German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, accompanied by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra under the majestic leadership of Austrian conductor Ion Marin.

Following their enormous success last year, The Bolshoi Ballet will return to Abu Dhabi for a second year to deliver a brilliant Ballet Gala and two performances of the Yuri Grigorovic interpretation of Giselle.

Andrea Bocelli, the biggest selling tenor of all time, will give a one-night only outdoor concert on the lawns of the Emirates Palace, accompanied by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. Andrea will be joined on stage by Conductor M Marcello Rota, soprano Paola Sanguinetti and baritone Gianfranco Montresor and will feature songs from his new album “Incanto''.

Welcomed back to the UAE capital is Oud virtuoso, Naseer Shamma, who will accompany World Music Award Winner, Tunisian actress and singer, Latifa, in a world premiere performance featuring new songs with Andalusian themes and inspired by Arab poets.

Following his successful show in 2008, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform a concert alongside the world's best known solo flautist, Sir James Galway, and the passionate and inspiring Russian cellist Nina Kotova, in a unique collaboration. The festival will also feature a show stopping performance by the legendary Lebanese UN Goodwill Ambassador and soprano Magida El Roumi.

Closing this year's festival is Karim Said, a strikingly talented young pianist who has quickly emerged at the forefront of the international concert stage.

An integral part of the festival is the visual arts element, which now in its second year features contemporary Iraqi-British artist, Dia Al-Azzawi. Exhibiting throughout the Festival at The Emirates Palace's auditorium foyer, the public can view striking works from one of the world's best-known contemporary Arab artists.

Education programme

The festival's education programme seeks to inspire the next generation of music lovers and artists. It is led by celebrated cellist Matthew Barley, with the support group Between The Notes, who return to the festival to work with various schools in Abu Dhabi. Held at the British School Al-Khubairat, it culminates in a special Children's Day performance by Matthew and selected students. He will also be giving a solo cello recital, featuring works by Bach and improvised pieces on traditional and electric cellos.

This year's education programme features “Angelina Ballerina'' for children by the English National Ballet and a special program for children with special needs. The program will include workshops and performances by children with special needs at the Mafraq Center and Future Center. A highlight of the education programme is the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival Award. Award categories include Best Documentary Film Production, Writing Skills, Poetry, Literature, Communication Skills, and Art (Fine Art, Painting, Graphic Design, Photography). The award will be presented at the opening of the Festival.


Starting from Dh75, tickets are available from the Time Out Tickets website
Phone: 800-4669, local or 971 4 210 8567 (international customers).

Tickets for the Andrea Bocelli concert will go on sale on Wednesday 11 February from Time Out Tickets, Box Office ME and Virgin Megastores.