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Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Miss This Year’s Abu Dhabi Festival

Sara Baras. Rex

The hotly-anticipated Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 (ADF19), set to be held in March, revealed its expansive lineup in a press conference at the Emirates Palace hotel on Monday, and it’s all good. The art and culture event, which is in its 16th edition, is set to host more than 500 artists from 17 different countries. Featuring an array of performances that range from opera and ballet productions to a jazz concert, Abu Dhabi’s annual cultural event is not one to miss.

Each year, the Abu Dhabi Festival recognizes one country, and commemorates its culture through performances and for 2019, the month-long festival’s “country of honor” is the Republic of Korea, which will join former honorees including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, France, and Egypt.

Organizers will focus on showcasing the Asian country’s fine arts talents with the Middle East audience by way of performances from two of South Korea’s most esteemed institutions. The festival’s headline program will include performances by the Korean National Ballet, which is set to perform “Giselle,” a romantic ballet about a peasant girl with a passion for dance. The Korean Symphony will appear the following night with celebrated pianist Jae-Hyuck Cho.

The festival will also shed light on artists with disabilities, with the central theme of the event being “Culture of Determination”. It coincides with the Special Olympics World Games, which will also run in Abu Dhabi during the festival, from March 14 to 21.

Other highlights include a performance from award-winning US jazz pianist Justin Kauflin, a flamenco dance show by the Sara Baras Flamenco Ballet Company, and a full-length performance by the Paris Opera Ballet, supported by the oldest symphony orchestra in France, the Pasdeloup Orchestra.

The confirmed cast of acts is impressive to say the least, with honorees like mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, French ballet dancer Aurélie Dupont, and the late Emirati poet Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Sweidi, as well as an exhibition entitled “Distant Prospects” that explores the history of European landscape painting through renowned pieces from the Late Renaissance era.

For the full programme, click here.

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