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Abu Dhabi Festival celebrates cultural diversity
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 04 - 04 - 2015

Mariam Nihal
Saudi Gazette

It was a month long. But the 12th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival celebrated unusual and exceptional aspects of culture including literature, Mozart, socio-economic developments, arts, constitutional policies and various others making it a winner amongst national festivals.
The rich variety included a substantial amount of refined classics, most seminars and shows helped educate the masses, create social awareness, help a cause, stirred debates, youth fueled activities including their line up during musical nights.
• Arabic Literature night launched six new books by five Emirati authors. The writers launched six books during the festival in collaboration with publishing houses Madarek Publishing, Dar Warak, and Hamaleel.
Ali Abu Alreesh's two books: ‘Al Gharbia: A Bird with Eight Wings' and ‘Emirati Faces', Dr. Faleh Handal's ‘A Glossary of the Colloquial Emirati Dialect', ‘Yasser Hareb's ‘Take Off Your Shoes' Aysha Sultan's ‘Cities &Travelling & Leaving', and Alya Ibrahim's ‘Three Women & A City' were launched during the night.
Budapest Festival Orchestra performed the Arab World Premiere of their production - Mozart's revered opera, ‘The Magic Flute.'
Conductor, Iván Fischer, who initially founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra over thirty years ago, received the Abu Dhabi Festival Award for lifetime achievement before the performance.
Co-produced by the Budapest Palace of Arts, the Orchestra included celebrated artists like German bass, Andreas Bauer as Sarastro, German soprano, Mandy Fredrich as Queen of the Night, and French tenor, Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Tamino - a Japanese Prince.
• ‘The Creative Economy' was the fifth and final Riwaq Al Fikr, talk held at New York University in Abu Dhabi.
The discussion took place after the release of the Arabic edition of the UN Creative Economy Report 2013.
The panel included Dr Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of the Gulf Director UNESCO Doha Office, Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, Emirati artist, Yudhishthir Raj Isar, Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris and Oussama Rifahi, Executive Director, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.
• Vibes – a youth festival in its second year, showcased young talent in the UAE showcasing talents like MohFlow, Mohammed Al Awadi, Sarah El Gohary, Daisy Grim and many more. Abu Dhabi Festival was organized by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF).
• Award winning Norwegian Pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes performed Brahms' Symphony No 1, along with three of his popular Hungarian Dances with the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Andsnes has been nominated for eight Grammys and awarded many international prizes including the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, by members of parliament.
• ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart' introduced classical music to children aged two to five. ‘Sydney Opera House - Babies Proms: Meeting Mozart' performed in the capital and Al Ain as part of Abu Dhabi Festival 2015's program in partnership with Art For All.
• In partnership with the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature, Abu Dhabi Festival celebrated Earth Hour for the fifth time with a series of educational workshops on the impacts of climate change.
• Music in Hospitals' initiative was run through healthcare facilities across the country for the sixth consecutive year.
In association with Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Festival presented a series of narrations by young Emirati musicians using oud, guitar and the piano for all patients and staff of various hospitals.
• Mayssa Karaa, the 25-year-old ­Lebanese singer closed the festival with performances from her upcoming debut album that blends Arabic classics.
Further information on the Abu Dhabi Festival 2015 Community & Education program can be found on the Festival website:

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