From first-class comedy and Shakespeare to musicals and clowns, Dubai Opera is leveling up this year.
We'll be the first to admit: as much as we love dressing up for a night at the opera, if a show looks dated, stuffy, or worse, boring, chances are we'll skip the heels and opt for a night in with PJs and pizza.
However, after seeing the lineup for Dubai Opera's new season, we're already planning our outfits for some genuinely incredible shows we can't wait to witness. If you missed Madama Butterfly or Swan Lake a few weeks ago, don't fret; even more fantastic shows are in the green room, ready to satisfy your cultural cravings and your need for a good night out at the opera.
From Shakespeare to opera, musicals, comedy, and more, we've rounded up our top picks this season at Dubai Opera that you won't want to miss. So go ahead and book your tickets. After all, there's no business like show business.
Gilberto Gil's Final Tour
If you are unfamiliar with the Brazilian sounds of Samba and Bossa Nova, allow us to introduce you to Gilberto Gil, a music legend and cultural icon. He's known for his groundbreaking contributions to the Tropicalia movement, which blends traditional Brazilian music with rock and psychedelic influences. His socially conscious lyrics and distinctive musical style have cemented him as a cherished figure in the music realm, and his influence spans well beyond Brazil's borders. Most pertinently, his Dubai appearance is part of Gil's 'Aquele Abraço Tour' – his farewell tour. If you've never witnessed him perform live, missing one of the final opportunities to do so would truly be regrettable.
Date: September 29
Matilda the Musical
Matilda the Musical, the acclaimed adaptation of Roald Dahl's cherished classic, is set to grace the stage in Dubai. This captivating tale revolves around a prodigiously gifted girl, overlooked by everyone except her kind-hearted teacher, Miss Honey. With its seamless blend of joy, mischief, and a touch of enchantment, this timeless story celebrates an unassuming heroine who uses her intellect to resolve challenges and assist those she cherishes. Originally staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, its buoyant music and lyrics will undoubtedly have you grinning and rooting for the underdog throughout.
Dates: October 3 - 15
William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'
"Something wicked this way comes" just a few days after Halloween. William Shakespeare's haunting play hits the Dubai Opera stage the first weekend of November, and we are counting down the days. This play is so iconic in theatrical lore that it's a theatrical faux pas to even utter the title in a theater, for fear of falling prey to the curse of the doomed Scottish king. This modern take on political backstabbing, murder, and a power-hungry lord and lady is brought to us by ETT, Shakespeare North Playhouse, Northern Stage, and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. We, for one, cannot wait to have our spines tingled and our bones chilled by one of the Bard's most harrowing tales.
Dates: November 3 - 5
Jim Gaffigan - Barely Alive
Jim Gaffigan, the comedian who can have you in stitches discussing the most mundane aspects of life, is coming to Dubai for his solo comedy tour 'Barely Alive' this November. Gaffigan boasts three Emmys, was listed by Forbes as one of the top 10 funniest comedians in 2019, and has even earned a Grammy nomination. Having seen a few of his live sets, we can vouch for his sharp sense of humor and keen observations of the world – guaranteed to make even the most stoic among you chuckle with delight.
Date: November 25
Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
The Teatro alla Scala Orchestra is set to make a grand regional debut at the Dubai Opera, coinciding with the COP28 conference. Under the baton of conductor Michele Gamba and featuring the talents of Aida Garifullina and Piero Pretti, the gala concert will showcase a selection of masterpieces by iconic composers Verdi, Puccini, and Mascagni. Titled "A Concert for Tomorrow," the event aims to unite audiences in a powerful display of solidarity and hope, underlining the global mission to protect our planet and ensure the prosperity of future generations. More than just a display of Italian artistic prowess, the concert aligns with the COP28's environmental focus, underscoring the crucial role of art in heightening global consciousness. The program interweaves symphonies and operatic arias, highlighting the talents of Garifullina and Pretti, and offering a cultural bridge between Italy and the UAE. This concert is a testament to the power of music in fostering international dialogue and understanding, particularly during significant global events.
Date: December 1
Slava's Snow Show
First of all, if you are associating "clowns" with those scary characters on Halloween or, worse, the silly entertainer at a kid's birthday party, Slava's Snow Show is neither of those things. Believe it or not, there is an actual art form to clowning, which, in a nutshell, takes everyday human experiences and exaggerates them. But where most people think clowns are funny (and they can be because, as any comedian will tell you, life is funny), they can also be downright devastating. Slava, the creator and performer, is a genius at finding those moments of humanity that are nuanced, poignant, amusing, and downright heartbreaking. In fact, part of this particular show was used in one of the first Cirque du Soleil performances. Believe us when we tell you this incredible show is not to be missed.
Dates: December 8 - 10
The Nutcracker, the timeless ballet by Marius Petipa, narrates the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical Nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. It's a beloved classic that we cherish deeply. As midnight approaches, Clara finds herself whisked away to a fantastical world brimming with toy soldiers, mice, and the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy. With its captivating music by Tchaikovsky and awe-inspiring dance performances, The Nutcracker stands as an enduring holiday tradition, touching the hearts of audiences globally and embodying the spirit of the season.
Dates: December 15 - 17
The Little Prince
The dance adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince takes the stage, blending mesmerizing choreography with deep themes of love, friendship, and the essence of human experience. It's a cosmic journey, anchored by the profound truth: "What is essential is invisible to the eye." This performance bridges youthful nostalgia with heartfelt introspection. It's a must-see.
Dates: January 26 - 28
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is here, and not only inside our minds. This beloved musical about love (and, quite frankly, obsession) may be set in the Paris Opera House, but we are confident the Dubai Opera will make an even better second home. The story follows Christine, a talented young singer, as she becomes the object of affection for a mysterious masked man known as the Phantom. As their relationship unfolds, secrets are revealed, and the opera house becomes the stage for jealousy, passion, and tragedy. The music is riveting, haunting, and spellbinding, and it is a timeless classic of Gothic romance and suspense that we would absolutely watch again.
Dates: February 22 - March 10