Budapest Festival Orchestra charms Abu Dhabi

Mozart’s opera performed in the Middle East for first time

By Silvia Radan - Reporter, Abu Dhabi

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Published: Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:37 PM

Abu Dhabi — The Budapest Festival Orchestra took the audience on a magical journey to a mythical land somewhere between the sun and the moon in an opera they performed at the Emirates Palace on Saturday night. Conducted by Iván Fischer, the Hungarian orchestra performed Mozart’s The Magic Flute opera for the first time in the Arab world as part of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Festival.

A scene from The Magic Flute opera performed by the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. — Supplied photo 

The awe-inspiring love story sees Prince Tamino, who is protected from danger by a magic flute, setting out on a fantastic adventure to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. A full expression of Mozart’s dramatic and musical genius, the kaleidoscopic score swoops from lyrical love duets to pyrotechnic arias in this magical story filled with vivid characters, wit and charm.

“It was magical! We loved the performance and the stage design,” said Ines Brooke, a German tourist in Abu Dhabi. “Actually, I’m here on holiday with my husband (and we are) ... staying at the Emirates Palace. We saw the concert advertised and managed to get tickets. The funny thing is that we never saw The Magic Flute before, even though it’s such a famous opera from Europe. We now got to see it here in the Middle East.”

Accompanied by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, The Magic Flute was performed by German baritone Andreas Bauer as Sarastro, German soprano Mandy Fredrich as Queen of the Night and French tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Tamino, a Japanese prince.

The opera will be performed again tonight at the Emirates Palace auditorium.

Prior to the performance, Iván Fischer, who founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra over 30 years ago, received the 2015 Abu Dhabi Festival Award from the Abu Dhabi Festival’s president and patron, Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

The month-long annual Abu Dhabi Festival is being organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF).

It will end on April 2 with an American-Lebanese concert of cross cultural songs performed by Mayssa Karaa (mostly known for her vocal rendition of White Rabbit, featured in the Oscar-nominated film American Hustle); joined by award-winning singer-guitarist Marcus Nand; and Grammy Award-winning American rock musicians Rami Jaffee, Luis Conte, Kenny Aronoff, Michael ‘Fish’ Herring, Curt Schneider and Sharlotte Gibson.

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