Ahead of the 2020 premiere of Al Wasl, UAE’s first opera, Expo 2020 Dubai will launch a series of music-based educational programmes to introduce UAE schoolchildren and their teachers to the fascinating world of opera.
Al Wasl – a key component of Expo 2020 Dubai’s cultural programming – has inspired opera education and outreach programmes that will use music, singing, storytelling and group work to create interactive and fun learning experiences.
“The primary objective of these educational initiatives is to introduce and attract schoolchildren to opera, in line with broad curriculum objectives and modern teaching methods based on teamwork and communication,” said Dr Hayat Shamsuddin, senior vice president, Arts and Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai. “Al Wasl is the first Emirati opera, with music by award-winning composer Mohammed Fairouz and dialogue penned by best-selling author Maha Gargash. We are confident that it will touch the hearts and souls of children, as its story is based on unity and communication. The programme is designed to have a far-reaching impact by reaching out to music teachers in various schools in the UAE, through educational initiatives specifically developed to enrich and develop the technical skills of students.”
The first programme, aimed at primary school students and teachers, will begin in October 2019 with a series of interactive workshops designed in collaboration with the world-renowned Welsh National Opera, which will perform Al Wasl during Expo 2020 Dubai. During the workshops, children will have the opportunity to meet experts in choral performance, drama, storytelling and theatre production, while teachers will learn key skills and innovative educational techniques to make singing easy, interactive and fun.
A second programme known as ‘Nasheed Al Wasl’ (which means ‘Al Wasl Song’ in English) will bring together groups of 250 primary and secondary pupils from multiple schools to form choirs that will sing on stage at Expo 2020 Dubai. In a series of 30-minute shows, the student choirs will perform extracts from Al Wasl opera, accompanied by a professional orchestra. The shows will premiere in November 2020 and run throughout Expo 2020.
Al Wasl opera tells an Emirati tale that celebrates the diverse cultural heritage of the UAE, its impressive achievements to date and its aspirations for the future. The opera will be performed in both Arabic and English. This artistic project will contribute to the enhancement of the UAE’s international standing and enrich its cultural heritage for future generations.