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Abu Dhabi Festival flies the cultural diplomacy flag with groundbreaking initiatives in France and US




(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))

ABU DHABI, 19th July, 2016 (WAM) -- Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Abu Dhabi Festival has recently supported two major cultural events on different continents.

In collaboration with leading global organisations, the Abu Dhabi Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, ADMAF, enables the creation of cultural initiatives that bring countries together and enable societies to better understand each other. The latest cultural diplomacy endeavours by the Abu Dhabi Festival also seek to further strengthen Abu Dhabi's position on the global cultural map.

In France, the world premiere run of the opera 'Kalila Wa Dimna' took place at the Theatre du Jeu de Paume during the Aix-en-Provence Festival from 1st -17th July, and in the USA, 'Star of the East: An Homage to Umm Kulthum' attracted a full house at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington DC, on 10th July.

Both initiatives attracted international audiences to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East, while highlighting the breadth and depth of creativity embedded in societies across the region.

Premiered at the renowned Aix-en-Provence Festival, 'Kalila Wa Dimna' is an opera in Arabic and French by Moneim Adwan from Palestine, and inspired by the book of the same name by Ibn Al Muqaffa. With the libretto co-written by Fady Jomar from Syria and conducted by Tunisian Zied Zouari, the opera will now embark on an international tour visiting other venues in France, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan and Mexico, touring until November 2017.

'Kalila Wa Dimna' is the latest example of ADMAF's ongoing collaboration with France, which was the Festival's 2016 Country of Honour, highlighting the strength of bilateral cultural relations and a shared spirit of creativity. The festival featured headline performances on the Emirates Palace stage in April by Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri, Orchestre de Paris, as well as an orchestral concert of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 'The Little Prince' by Nick Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid.

Also supported by the Abu Dhabi Festival, 'Star of the East: An Homage to Umm Kulthum', consisted of discussions and performances exploring the influence and impact of the iconic Egyptian singer-songwriter. Part of the 'Cultural Capital' sessions at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC and in partnership with the Middle East Institute, the programme featured the Syrian soprano, Lubna Al Quntar, accompanied by Issam Rafea and the Palestinian composer and singer, Huda Asfour, among a host of leading academics and arts professionals.

Continuing its long legacy of international cultural cooperation, in 2016 alone, the Abu Dhabi Festival has co-commissioned and supported six initiatives in four countries (USA, France, Lebanon, and Switzerland).

Looking ahead to 2017, the Abu Dhabi Festival's commission with the acclaimed Afro-Tarab jazz composer and musician, Tarek Yamani, entitled 'Portraits in Khaleeji Rhythms and Jazz', is expected to come to fruition. In 2020, the Festival will present the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's Fifth Symphony, which will explore the story of the UAE and the universality of its values.


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Abu Dhabi Festival flies the cultural diplomacy flag with groundbreaking initiatives in France and US

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