Complex Made Simple

Beyond physical space: What Dubai Opera means for MENA

Dubai Opera opened its doors to the crowds on Wednesday evening, hosting a sold-out concert by legendary Spanish tenor Placido Domingo.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, toured the venue ahead of the grand opening.

“We opened Dubai Opera, a new cultural center and architectural masterpiece to add to our growing nation” His Highness tweeted Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Sheikh Mohammed visited IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, spread over 1.5 million square feet.

“With the opening of Dubai Opera, the city is now uniquely positioned to gain significant socio-economic benefits that once again highlight Emaar’s lasting contribution to the city’s economy,” Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, the firm behind the development of the project, said is a statement.

Alabbar invested AED1.2 billion for the development of the venue.

“The iconic Dubai Opera complements the Dubai Tourism Vision announced by His Highness to welcome more than 20 million annual visitors by the turn of the decade and supports the cultural ambitions of Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to host more than 25 million visitors. It also fulfils the central pillar of the Dubai Plan 2021 to build a city of happy, creative and empowered people by providing rich cultural experiences,” Alabbar added.

The business mogul also highlighted the economic dividends resulting from the development, saying Dubai Opera creates another growth engine for emirate’s economy, being part of the $20bn Downtown Dubai development, which is currently the world’s most visited, welcoming an average of 80m visitors.

“Cultural events are a stimulus for tourism and in turn contributing to the aviation, hospitality and allied sectors. With its year-round calendar of high profile events by world-class performers, Dubai Opera will further attract visitors to Downtown Dubai, which has already delivered on its promise as ‘The Centre of Now’,” Alabbar said.

The direct economic value of Dubai Opera will come through four channels: revenue generated through the performances, F&B and other retail outlets, through tourism, aviation and hospitality and the local cultural ecosystem of local production houses and support agencies, creating thousands of jobs for creative professionals, Alabbar explained.

Leading entities in the UAE were quick in getting involved with the Dubai Opera. Telecom operation du, has announced a collaboration with Dubai Opera to bring over 150 performances each year, through its du Live!, the company’s entertainment platform, including ballet, classical and world music, Broadway musicals and theatre and family entertainment.

“Our collaboration with Dubai Opera is rooted in our common belief that the venue will be instrumental in enriching the cultural fabric of our community. After all, cultural wealth is a critical ingredient in the formula for happiness. And we, as a UAE national company, are fully committed to adding life to this vibrant city and advancing the nation’s happiness agenda,” said Osman Sultan, CEO at du.

Premium automotive manufacturer Jaguar Middle East and North African announced becoming the Official Vehicle Partner for Dubai Opera.

“There are clear synergies between Dubai Opera, Jaguar’s brand values and Jaguar’s ‘The Art of Performance’ platform. From its stunning, world-class architecture and heritage to its innovation and enchanting, modular interior design, Dubai Opera delights the senses through technical artistry. We are delighted to be able to harness this opportunity to shine a spotlight on performing arts and create immersive moments that excite the senses and take breaths away,” said Christopher Wilde, brand director at Jaguar Land Rover MENA.