Everything you need to know about Dubai Opera
A quick guide to the venue everyone's talking about
Dubai’s opera house opens this year, adding a key cultural venue to the city
I keep hearing that Dubai is about to become a global hub for opera. You serious?
Yes we are.
October this year, or thereabouts. That’s when Dubai Opera House in Downtown Dubai will finally open.
Hang on. Wasn’t this meant to be by the Dubai Creek?
Come on, keep up. Those were the original plans about a decade ago but they were canned after the property crash.
What’s it going to be like?
Safe to say, pretty spectacular. The developer Emaar is already describing it as “iconic”, and that’s a good six months before it opens.
What’s so special about it?
Well, it will certainly look cool. It has been designed to resemble a dhow, the traditional sailing vessel. The “bow” of the structure will house the main stage, the orchestra and all the seating. The elongated “hull” will have the waiting and reception areas, taxi drop-offs and parking.
How big are we talking, here?
Huge. The capacity will be around 2,000 seats.
Not really up on my opera houses. How does that compare to, say, Sydney Opera House?
Sydney has less, 1,507 – but it does also have several smaller halls around it which take it up to 5,000. But Sydney isn’t actually as big as it needed to be.
Do that many people in Dubai like opera enough, though?
Well, here is where it gets really cool. The venue can be converted into a traditional theatre or concert hall for operas, ballets, classical performances, musicals, and rock, pop and jazz concerts. It can even be an exhibition hall.
How on earth will they do that?
The clever people who designed it have built the seats on hydraulic technology. They can press a few buttons and around 900 of the seats will either disappear or reconfigure. So you can have a huge opera event one night and a trade show the next.
Any other cool bits?
The transparent all-glass foyer opens to the waterfront of Burj Lake. Architecture-wise, this presents the identity of Dubai Opera serving as a “box-within-a-box”, with the theatre enveloped by a translucent foyer.
Can you explain that in English?
Not really. We nicked that bit from the press release.