There is a first time to everything, it is said. This proved so true when opera fans in Dubai, along with dozens of curious people, gathered last Thursday for the Mozart in Arabic opera performance at the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation.
Bringing excerpts from Mozart's most popular operas, translated into Arabic, to the UAE audience was a first-of-its-kind event, and a successful one by all standards.
It was a night of passionate music as people listened intently while Raouf Zaidan, Muna Rafla and Mohammad Abu Al Khair sang arias and duets from Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte and The Magic Flute, for about 90 minutes.
And, although the auditorium of the Al Owais Foundation was only half full, those who turned up listened and enjoyed the selection. The words were translated by Dr Ali Sadek, an anaesthetist by profession, who spent 10 years translating five of Mozart's operas in an act of pure love of music.
The singers are all professionals who have sung the same notes in other languages before, but were all very excited when they were given a chance to sing their favourite operas in their mother tongue. They arrived from Egypt, London and the US especially for the event, and were not disappointed.
Janet Hassouneh of Bravo Productions, organisers of the event, has promised Dubai opera fans a full performance of one of the operas if the first "taste" was appetising. And now that the event has proved to be a success, all opera fans have to do is wait for the promised treat.