Dubai: Celebrities, classical music legends to attend Dresden Opera Ball

The gala event is set to be held on March 14 and aims to connect cultural bridges between Germany, Russia and the UAE



By Joydeep Sen Gupta

Published: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 7:58 PM

Classical music, global cultures, celebrity guests and a grand European ball. Dubai is unlikely to have seen anything like the Dresden Opera Ball, to be held on March 14.

The landmark cultural event seeks to unite global cultures through a fusion of music and dance.

Dubai Opera will host the gala event based on the Semper Opera Ball — the largest classical entertainment event in the German-speaking world that made its debut in 2006.

ALSO READ:

The most recent Dresden Opera Ball took place at the beautiful Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Now it is Dubai's turn to host this celebration of music, dance and sophistication.

Plácido Domingo, Fatma Said, René Pape, Valeriya, Svetlana Zakharova, Vadim Repin, Fabio Mastrangelo, and Dresden Chamber Orchestra will perform at the marquee event.

A red-carpet reception begins proceedings at 6pm, before VIP guests arrive at Dubai Opera for a gala dinner, classical music performances from the world's best musicians, and elegant dancing in the style of traditional European balls.

The event is a tribute to the year-long celebrations of the UAE's Golden Jubilee that culminated on December 2, 2021, and aims to infuse a European flair to modern musical and artistic performances from the Arab world.

Khaleej Times spoke with Hans-Joachim Frey, a German cultural manager; the chairman and artistic director of Dresden Semper Opera Ball Association; he artistic director of Sirius Foundation, Talent and Success; and an advisor to the General Director of Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:

How did Dresden's Semper Opera Ball come about?

Hans-Joachim Frey: Dresden's Semper Opera Ball is the largest classical entertainment event in the German-speaking world, and has become one of the most important ball events in Europe. Last September, around 2,500 guests inside and up to 15,000 visitors in front of the famous Semper Opera celebrated a glittering ball night together in Saint Petersburg, in the midst of stars, starlets and prominent guests from politics, business, culture and society. From the arrival on the red carpet to the grand opening gala and the classy midnight concert, the most recent Semper Opera Ball was broadcast live on German television for five hours, impressing audiences across Germany and Europe with its artistically high-quality programme.

In recent years, artists appearing at Semper Opera Ball have included world-famous stars like Yusif Eyvasov, Denis Matsuev, Diana Damrau, Aida Garifullina, Joyce DiDonato, José Carreras, Georg Zeppenfeld, Sonya Yoncheva, Julia Lezhneva, Vittoria Grigolo, Rene Pape, Jonas Kaufmann, Sergei Roldugin and newcomers to the classical music scene and ensembles from renowned venues. The opening programme brings together the best of the opera world in a production that bridges genres and trends with its power and flair, as Dresden is the meeting ground of the classical music world.

Every year, around 100 young ladies and gentlemen make their début at the Semper Opera Ball in uniform débutante dresses designed for the occasion. The choreography, specially rehearsed for the Semper Opera Ball, forms the festive highlight of the opening programme.

This diverse cultural programme is rounded off with innovative new compositions and choreographies created especially for the evening, guaranteeing entertainment for the discerning audience of the annual Semper Opera Ball, which is being held in Dresden annually since 2006.

How is the Dresden Opera Ball in Saint Petersburg a unique event? When did it first start?

Frey: On August 31, 2019, the premiere of the Dresden Opera Ball took place in Saint Petersburg with an excellent gala show in the traditional Mikhailovsky Theatre, before all guests strolled across Arts Square to the nearby Saint Petersburg Philharmonia to enjoy the spectacular opening of the ball and a multi-course gala dinner. The great success of this German-Russian event, which was broadcast on TV in both countries, aroused the great desire for a spectacular repetition and a new tradition was born.

Dresden Opera Ball has found an excellent new venue with the world-famous Great Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg. The former tsar's residence with its imposing palace complex and magnificent golden halls offered the perfect atmosphere for an extraordinary ball evening. The Dresden Opera Ball in Saint Petersburg on September 4, 2021, was implemented with the aim of supporting and expanding Russian-German relations. The event brings together twin cities — Dresden and Saint Petersburg — making a significant contribution to further enhance the popularity of classical music and has a tremendous impact on the development of international cultural cooperation. Visitors from both countries celebrate together a fantastic ball night in front of the palace with outdoor stage, in all golden halls and in the palace gardens with great fireworks.

The concept was brought to Russia by me. My team and I in Dresden initiated and developed the biggest classic entertainment event in the German-speaking countries: The Dresden Semper Opera Ball. My company, Dresden Opera Ball, aims to establish similar and great cultural events around the world such as in Saint Petersburg and in the UAE. We aim to build bridges between cultures and people.

How does the Dresden Opera build unforgettable shared experiences by introducing classical European ball culture amid the luxurious Arab surroundings?

Frey: The Dresden Opera Ball in the UAE will be a meeting of great cultural nations and an incomparable experience conceived and staged by the creators of the famous Semper Opera Ball — a project proposed to support and expand German, European, Russian and Arabian ties. Dresden Opera Ball builds bridges by implementing classical European ball culture into the luxurious and splendid Arab atmosphere of the UAE.

The Dresden Opera Ball is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and the UAE.

The Dresden Opera Ball is bringing top-class European and Russian artists to the UAE for a spectacular multi-cultural experience featuring the best talents to celebrate German, European, Russian and Arabian culture under one room on March 14. The Dresden Opera Ball in the UAE welcomes tourists and residents interested in cultural bridges and classical entertainment to celebrate a unique premium event.

Who will perform at the Dresden Opera Ball?

Frey: Fabio Mastrangelo — Russia's most sought-after Italian-born conductor — will wield the baton for an international orchestra with musicians from Dresden accompanying grandiose performances such as world-class tenor Plácido Domingo, the exceptional Egyptian soprano Fatma Said, the prima ballerina of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater Svetlana Zakharova and the Russian violinist Vadim Repin. Russian pop singer Valeriya will also perform on the occasion.

How have been the responses to the upcoming event?

Frey: Ticket sales started in Dubai on December 6 and the response has been overwhelming. We're expecting several visitors from Germany and Russia as well. We're working in close coordination with the German government to make the event a gala success as we celebrate the golden jubilee of the UAE and the young nation's young and friendly ties with Germany.

- joydeep@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Events