Dubai’s opera house is about more than just song

With a rooftop restaurant and sky garden, Dubai Opera will even interest those who don’t like the music.

Neil Churchill March 23, 2016

Dubai isn’t missing much in the way of culture and entertainment. Five-star hotels, fine dining restaurants, global bar and clubs brands – it’s got them all.

Then there are the international street artists such as Ben Eine and Gully who frequently visit the city, and famous photographers too, including Mario Testino and Steve McCurry.

But Dubai has maybe been missing one cultural stamp in its collection to put alongside the European likes of Paris, London and Vienna – an opera house. 

However, by the end of the year the emirate will have such a thing, and in true Dubai style it will be opened with a string of world-class performances.

Situated in Downtown Dubai very close to the Burj Khalifa and dancing fountains, Dubai Opera will be a huge multi-purpose performing arts theatre measuring 35,500-sq m, with a proscenium arch theatre, an acoustic concert hall and a flat floor event space. 

The main auditorium will be capable of seating up to 2,000 people for a theatrical production and 1,000 for a gala dinner – so expect some of those black tie invites next year to be held here. There will also be a rooftop restaurant and sky garden with a unique angle to view the Burj Khalifa’s fountains – keep your eye on this place, it could become a new hotspot.

While the opera house will be another sign of ‘new Dubai’ and its continuing growth, its design inspiration does hark back rather nicely to the country’s heritage. The building is shaped to look like a dhow, the old boats used for fishing and pearl diving, which is a nice touch as Emiratis used to sing while divers searched for pearls.

Maybe more of Dubai’s new buildings should embody some cultural heritage. For now though, Dubai Opera is going to be a welcome addition to the city’s cultural scene.