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Emirati composer Mohammed Fairouz, during the launch of Dubai first UAE opera to showcase UAE’s rich cultural heritage and spirit of inclusivity and innovation by Expo 2020 at The Studio, Dubai Opera, Dubai. 16th April 2019. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News to go along with Jumana Khamis's story Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Top Emirati and global talent are giving finishing touches to the first UAE opera, which will premiere at Expo 2020.

Produced in collaboration with the world-renowned Welsh National Opera, the landmark production will tell the history of the emirate, spanning 4,000 years in a mesmerising two-hour stage show featuring over 150 artists and musicians singing in Arabic and English.

Aidan Lang, general director of the Welsh National Opera, told Gulf News he’s excited to work with Arab artists.

“As the world’s largest touring company, we have the ability to put up a theatre anywhere and in any language. Our artists routinely perform in languages they don’t speak, but Arabic is a different ball game, so yes I am very excited,” said Lang, who was in Dubai recently to listen to first readings by award-winning composer Mohammad Fairouz. He along with fellow Emirati author and librettist Maha Gargash have provided the music and dialogue for the Al Wasl Opera which means ‘the connection’ in Arabic.

“Singing from a printed page is not the same as singing after hearing and feeling the pulse of the music. In the Arabic language, the vowel sounds which carry emotions get elongated. So we will need singers to perfect their diction,” explained Lang ahead of the concert in October next year.

“We will rehearse in our studios in Cardiff until August after which we will move the scenery to Dubai. Initial rehearsals will be done with the piano and then with the full orchestra. With new pieces you don’t know how they will turn up until you start rehearsing. That’s when you find out how certain scenes and words work in an opera,” he said.

Four shows are currently planned of the opera which organisers say will celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the UAE, its impressive achievements and aspirations for the future.