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Daniel Hope brings melody to Dubai

The award-winning musician with magic at his fingertips readies to usher in the ‘Four Seasons’ for one night only on Dubai Opera’s stage

Image Credit: Nicolas Zonvi
Daniel Hope

Hear the floor shift beneath your feet as a gentle veil of sound descends — and give into the gentle, but insistent thrum of Daniel Hope’s violin. Well, it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to. When the virtuoso plays, the notes demand one’s complete attention; eyes closed, ears unblocked; the piercing quality of the pure tones will settle for nothing less.

And the silence is worth it.

Hope, whose credits include 25 albums — which have won critical acclaim and titles for him galore — and a 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music win, is making his debut at the Dubai Opera on Saturday and is all set to take the city galloping into changing climates with a rendition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

The director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra will play from his March release, the album For Seasons, at a one-night-only show.

The prolific musician, writer — he has four bestsellers to his name besides being a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal — and radio show host now has a new title. As of last month, he took on a new mantle as Artistic Partner of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisc.

The Briton is also the subject of a documentary called Daniel Hope — The Sound of Life, which premiered at the Zurich Film Festival last month. Ahead of his Dubai show, the music master spoke to Gulf News tabloid! about his documentary, why he’s excited about Dubai Opera and his encore act.

What can Dubai expect from your show?
A passionate performance of the greatest work of classical music ever, Vivaldi’s timeless Four Seasons. In combination with Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed, a re-imagining of the original which has taken the world by storm. Since we recorded the piece it has reached No 1 in over 22 countries and I am thrilled that it will be given its first performance in the UAE.

What are you expecting from Dubai, in terms of audience and place?
The whole world is talking about Dubai Opera and I can’t wait to experience it myself for the first time. Making music is about sharing ideas and emotions, and I am looking forward to getting to know a new audience, as it is also my debut in Dubai.

A documentary on you, Daniel Hope - The Sound of Life, is out - while shooting, while watching it, did you discover new facets to yourself?
A film team followed me around the world for almost a year as I began a new role as Artistic Director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. But it also gave me a chance to delve into my family history - it was certainly an interesting experience. The film had its premiere last weekend at the Zurich Film Festival.

What do you hope people’s takeaway from the documentary will be?
I think it gives a candid view of a musician’s life on the road, the joy that music can bring to others and how rewarding it can be to discover more about where you come from and who you are.

You are a prolific musician, writer and filmmaker - what projects are in the pipeline?
I just completed my first short film as a director. That was an amazing experience and a lifelong dream. And I am working on a new Mozart album for Deutsche Grammophon which will be released in February 2018.

Are you involved in any charity work at the moment - could you tell us about that?
Yes I support a number of charitable organisations, most notably Live Music Now. It was created in the 70s by Yehudi Menuhin and gives young musicians the chance to gain experience by connecting them with people who can’t usually enjoy live classical music: in retirement homes, hospitals or who are in some form handicapped.

What is your favourite piece of music to play? Why?
It’s really whatever I am playing at the moment, although Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is certainly one of my all time favourites.

Is there any contemporary musician who has captured your attention?
There are several, and I don’t differentiate between music genres. Sting is certainly one of my favourite musicians and I have been lucky to perform and record with him on several occasions. Maybe one day we might even perform together at Dubai Opera, now that would be something!