Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 March 2023:
Under the honorary patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Founding Honorary Patron the special 20th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival saw the Middle East premiere of De Scheherezade a Yo, Carmen by renowned flamenco dancer and choreographer, María Pagés at EmiratesPalace on 10 March.
Presented by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation(ADMAF) and held under the theme “The Will for Evolution”, the headline programme of events will continue to take place until 20 March, featuring the world’s most renowned performers and musicians.
Following the performance, His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State and Abu Dhabi Festival Founder and Artistic Director, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo presented the Abu Dhabi Festival award in partnership with Chopard to María Pagés for her lifetime contributions and her efforts in preserving Spanish heritage through flamenco.
Co-produced by Abu Dhabi Festival and Gran Teatre De Liceu Barcelona, the performance is hailed across the world as one of the finest contemporary flamenco shows. De Scheherezade a Yo, Carmen is a fresh take on the gypsy cigarette girl from Mérimée’s novella who was made famous by Bizet and the storyteller of the Arabian Nights in a vibrant ode to femininity.
Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Following the success of the world premiere in Barcelona, we are pleased to bring the Abu Dhabi Festival co-production of De Scheherazade A Yo, Carmen by legendary flamenco dancer María Pagés to Abu Dhabi for our 20th anniversary edition. Pagés has brought the beauty and passion of flamenco and Spanish culture to audiences around the world.”
She added: “Her spectacular performance highlights the Festival’s commitment to cultural diplomacy and to bringing people together to experience the enduring power of music and dance to inspire, connect, and move us all. We are pleased to honour María Pagés with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award for her outstanding lifetime contributions and dedication to preserving the tradition and art of flamenco.”
The Sevilian-born artist, María Pagés, is considered a pioneer in the understanding of Flamenco as a contemporary art in constant evolution, contemporaneous, generous, and hospitable of its deep Spanish roots. Prior to the event night, the dancer and choreographer hosted a masterclass at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy during a collaborative session for first year students across all majors including Dance, Musical Theatre, Acting and Production Arts of the Academy entitled ‘Why Art Matters.’
Following a screening of the documentary entitled, “Las tribulaciones de Maria” (Maria’s Tribulations), about the wanderings of María and her director husband, El Arbi El Harti,while creating the flamenco performance, Paraíso de los Negrosthe students engaged with the legendary flamenco dancer in a debate about the creative, intellectual and reflective process of the traditional art form.
Members of the Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation’s Young Media Leaders Programme, which aims to foster the development of the nation’s emerging media professionals, interviewed the star for the Foundation’s Artists Studio initiative.
Abu Dhabi Festival 2023 is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Assistant to His Highness the President of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority for Women’s Affairs, and Chairperson of the Higher Committee for Ataya Initiative. The Festival is also supported by its Lead Partner Mubadala.
Abu Dhabi Festival 2023 will present exclusive commissions and productions, along with local, regional, and global premieres, in addition to a series of world-class events that include musical tours, panel discussions, and workshops. Additional information on the Abu Dhabi Festival programme and ticket booking details are available at abudhabifestival.ae/programme-2023/