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Hitting the right note

Whether you enjoy a sophisticated theatre setting or dancing along with the crowd, the UAE’s growing music scene offers plenty of local and international talent.

Classical tastes

Looking back at some of the classical music heavyweights who have played to sold-out concerts in Abu Dhabi – think Plácido Domingo, Katherine Jenkins and Andrea Bocelli – it’s clear the capital crowd has a deep appreciation for this musical genre. And this growing interest has definitely been bolstered by events such as Abu Dhabi Classics, now in its eighth season. Running until April 2019, visitors can expect a diverse lineup of western and Arabic classical music, including famed soloists, ballet and opera. The season kicks off on October 12 at Emirates Palace, with Mozart and Satie Violin Concertos by the prestigious Camerata Salzburg Orchestra and violin virtuoso Renaud Capuçon. Also in the capital, the NSO Symphony Orchestra recently announced they would withdraw their decision to disband, and will instead continue to delight fans with a special line-up of events, including this month’s Frank Sinatra tribute on October 5.

Big fan favourites

Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is one of the emirates’ most eagerly anticipated annual events. Aside from all the guaranteed high-thrills sporting action, which brings the F1 season to an end, the event also promises some of the year’s hottest entertainment. Across three days, from November 23 to 25, this year’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts will see RnB sensation The Weeknd perform on Friday, followed by singer-songwriter Sam Smith on Saturday, while the event’s Sunday finale belongs to rock legends Guns ‘n Roses, who, judging by their previous performance in Dubai, will be poised to bring the show to a suitably explosive close. Elsewhere in the UAE, the multipurpose Dubai Opera is known for staging some of the city’s most diverse acts, with everything from modern ballet to rock and jazz. The venue has also been expanding its pop repertoire of late, and upcoming shows include British electro band Morcheeba on October 31 and Irish vocalist Imelda May on November 2.

Local haunts


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Dubai is revered for its incredible nightlife scene and, fortunately for music lovers, the live music scene is going from strength to strength. Popular with the city’s jazz aficionados Q’s Bar, nestled within Palazzo Versace Dubai, is a solid choice if you’re on the hunt for quality music. Set up by none other than musician and producer extraordinaire Quincy Jones, the slick venue presents a new resident act every few months. Currently on stage until December 1 is singer, dancer and actor Rogelio Douglas Jr who regularly plays to sold-out crowds at his Los Angeles Vibrato Jazz Club residency. Another fail-safe option for nightly performances is Hard Rock Café Dubai. Much like its counterparts across the globe, this lively bar and lounge regularly features a mix of international talent, acclaimed tribute bands and a host of regional acts. Dubai’s infamous Irish Village also offers a mixed bag of musicians, with everyone from Slash, Toploader and Texas having played previously. Next on the bill is UK indie rockers James, who are sure to get the crowd going with a set list spanning 30 years in the industry on November 22.

Dinner and a show

Looking to up the ante on your musical viewing? Try one of Dubai’s many dinner and a show options. Located at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, MusicHall offers a standout experience thanks to its eclectic programme. Each Thursday and Friday evening at least 10 multicultural performances light up the stage for a short yet electrifying 10-minute set. With genres ranging from Russian folk and rock to Indian and French, it’s an alternative experience that makes for an unforgettable night. In between the live shows, visitors can expect gourmet food served to their tables while the DJ sets are designed to keep the after-dark vibe going throughout the evening. Alternatively if you like a bit more theatre with your dining entertainment, Billionaire Mansion at Taj Hotel is sure to pique your interest. Catch the early dining offer, from 8 to 10.30pm, which includes the three-course sharing menu complemented by a live show and special performances – think everything from cabaret to fire dancing.

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