Under the sponsorship of its main partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), and as part of the programme of its 18th edition, held under the theme ‘The Future Starts Now’, Abu Dhabi Festival presented the world premiere of L’Apocalypse Arabe, an opera co-produced with the pioneering experimental cultural institution the LUMA Foundation in France. The opera debuted on 4 and 5 July at Luma Arles’ Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.
This premiere is part of Abu Dhabi Festival’s ongoing mission to contribute to culture and art globally through commissioning and producing works around the world, and through collaborations with international arts organisations.
H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival said, “We are delighted to partner with Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the LUMA Foundation to bring the legendary Etel Adnan’s masterpiece, L’Apocalypse Arabe, to life.
Abu Dhabi Festival’s co-production is a historic opportunity to present her poetry and artwork on a global stage with composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi and director Pierre Audi. The production adds new depth and intensity, echoing Etel’s powerful call for peace.”
L’Apocalypse Arabe was based on the legendary epic poems of Lebanese-American poet and visual artist Etel Adnan. Written in 1975 during the Lebanese Civil War, the poems represent the impact of Arab culture and the disaster caused by war, whilst condemning crimes that spring from intolerance.
H.E. Xavier Chatel, French Ambassador to the UAE, said: “As a longstanding fan and a yearly attendee of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, I am very excited that the world premiere of L’Apocalypse Arabe will take place there this year. The event is a beautiful example of a French Emirati cooperation, between ADMAF and the Luma Foundation. It is also a beautiful example of Abu Dhabi Festival’s efforts to bring the work of Arab artists to wider audiences around the world.”
Music and libretto were composed by the innovative avante-garde Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi, and the Opera is directed by accomplished French-Lebanese theatre director and artistic director Pierre Audi. It is performed by Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern, a leading New Music ensemble of diverse musicians from across Europe and Asia, and conducted by the notable Ivan Volkov, in a co-production with the pioneering experimental cultural institution, the LUMA Foundation in France.
Pierre Audi, the opera’s director, commented, “I am delighted to be working again with Abu Dhabi Festival to present a work of art that beautiful interprets Etel Adnan’s message decrying intolerance and hatred, a message that is as urgent today as it was when she wrote it over 40 years ago. It is wonderful to see that Abu Dhabi Festival is engaging global artists to reach audiences with a call for peace.”
Composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi said, “It is my pleasure to be part of Abu Dhabi Festival to realise a dream of mine that is over 20 years old. L’Apocalypse Arabe had a profound impact on me, and I have thought of it daily since I read it in 2001. Seeing this project come to fruition is a dream come true. This opera has been a creative experience like no other, and I am confident that with the hard work of our team, it communicated Etel Adnan’s vision truly and powerfully.”