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The Puccini Opera Gala in Abu Dhabi, to mark the centenary of the great composer’s passing

Foto Puccini

To mark the centenary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing, the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, together with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), commemorate the Tuscan composer with an opera concert. The orchestra of the Fondazione Festival Pucciniano, custodian of the Puccini tradition, will perform in the UAE capital on 31st January at the Emirates Palace. This is the orchestra’s first concert in the Gulf region.

“After the extraordinary concert of the Teatro alla Scala at Dubai Opera on 1st December” – said the Italian Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Lorenzo Fanara – “great Italian opera returns to the United Arab Emirates with the Puccini Festival. The concert, realised in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Festival, also celebrates Italian opera singing, recognised in December by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The concert is part of the initiative of cultural diplomacy that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, promotes worldwide”.

Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, expressed that the Festival’s commemoration of the centenary of the passing of the international opera composer Giacomo Puccini reflects the Festival’s appreciation for international arts and its celebration of the achievements of great creators.

Her Excellency stated, “The Abu Dhabi Festival introduces the Orchestra of the Puccini Festival for the first time in the Arab world, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in the UAE and the Italian Cultural Institute. The evening revisits the masterpieces of opera composed by Puccini, from Madama Butterfly to La Bohème and Tosca, emphasising Abu Dhabi’s role as a global hub for the arts and a beacon for classical and contemporary creativity.”

She concluded by saying, “Under the direction of the renowned Maestro Jacopo Sipari di Pescasseroli, and featuring the brilliant soprano Valeria Sepe and star tenor Francesco Meli, this exceptional gathering of top opera artists from Italy and around the world reflects the established status of classical arts in the annals of history and civilisation and their creative role in expressing the loftiest human values.”

The President of the Puccini Festival Foundation, Luigi Ficacci, said: “The celebration of the anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s death offers us a new opportunity to affirm and share the universality of his art and the great communicative power of his music. I would like to thank Ambassador Lorenzo Fanara and the organisers of the Abu Dhabi Festival for the invitation extended to our Foundation and to our artists. I am certain that they will be able to express with their performance the pleasure of sharing the emotions that Puccini can give.  We are waiting for you at our Festival, to discover the charm of the places where Puccini lived and that have certainly contributed to imprint so much beauty in his music”.

“It is a great honour for me and the Italian Cultural Institute to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death in Abu Dhabi, coinciding with the inclusion of Italian opera singing in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity”, comments the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Susanna Iacona Salafia. “Abu Dhabi and the UAE have a growing interest in the arts, music and culture. The Emirates Palace and the Abu Dhabi Festival are the ideal setting for this important celebration of Italian and world culture.”

The Puccini Opera Gala will offer to Abu Dhabi audiences a selection of the great composer’s most celebrated arias, from Tosca to La Bohème to Madama Butterfly, performed by soprano Valeria Sepe and tenor Francesco Meli. The orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Jacopo Sipari from Pescasseroli.