Friday, March 30, 2007


I attended the Aida Monumental Opera on Fire last night. The event took place at the gardens of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

When we reached Emirates Palace, there was a huge lineup of cars, and in my head, I thought "here we go...this is Shakira all over again!". But with some creative maneuvering from my dad, we managed to find a parking spot rather quickly. But it seems that the parking area and the opera area were not the same...We had to take a bus that would take us to the place where the opera was taking place. So we waited in line, behind a few other people. There was already a bus waiting there, but it was full. The bus left, and we waited for the next one. And waited. And waited.

Fifteen minutes later, we decided to walk, because we heard an Emirates Palace employee telling someone: "it's a 5 minute walk towards the hotel". So a bunch of us start walking, then another employee sees us and says: "what are you doing? The opera is in the opposite direction, and you can't walk there it's too far, you need the bus".

So we head back to the ever-expanding line, and wait, and wait...and wait some more. Finally, 3 buses show up, and they stop towards the middle of the line. People were being disrespectful and rude, with everyone rushing towards the buses, rather than wait calmly in line like civilized people. We were at the front of the line, but by the time we made it to the bus, there were almost no seats left! But thankfully, at the last moment, we managed to make it on the bus.

The bus took us out of the hotel, and back into the traffic jam of people trying to find parking...ridiculous! But we made it through eventually, and reached the opera area.

Once we got there, we made it through security and ticketing quickly, and managed to find our seats. We had to walk through some sandy areas, which is not ideal when you're wearing high-healed sandals, but it was OK (hey, at least it wasn't a new pair of shoes!).

Unfortunately for us, the weather conditions were not ideal for an outdoor opera that involves pyrotechnic effects. Because of the wind, the backdrop could not be lowered, and the special fire effects were cancelled due to security reasons. And it was so windy, that we actually decided to leave halfway through the performance, because we couldn't take the cold anymore.

The show itself was good (well, the first half at least...). I'd never been to an opera before, and I initially throught that I'd be annoyed by all the high-pitched singing, but I wasn't...As a matter of fact, I was really into the whole thing, and the story of star-crossed lovers Aida and Radames was intriguing. The only thing is that our seats were a bit far, and the subtitles on the screens could have been a little bigger to make them easier to read.

I just really wish we could have toughed it out till the end...But I'm glad to see that Abu Dhabi is taking a step in the right direction by bringing some arts and culture to the city. And it was cool to see so many Dubai people coming to Abu Dhabi to attend an event for a change, rather than the other way round!

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BuJ said...

hey.. you should be a Logistics Manager :)

My dad was there too.. they loved it.. except for the cold (which for my dad means anything less than 35C).. and apparently it rained during or just b4...

So what do you give it? 7/10?

Dubai Sunshine said...

Hey Buj
A 7/10 sounds about right...Organization was not nearly half as a bad as Shakira (although, granted, 4,000 people is not the same as 25,000 people), and the setting was really beautiful...and since we couldn't really do anything about the weather, I won't take that into consideration in my evaluation.

And yes, it had rained that same morning...which cooled down the temperature a LOT. The night before, it was a very balmy 34 degrees! Go figure!

BuJ said...

hehe.. 34 is less than 35.. hence the complaints!
tayyeb if you have a son in the UK doesn't mean you can fix the weather!

anyway, they just told me of the ticket prices.. big ouch.. i guess it must have been something... i was told there were 300 performers!! amazing!

from my own experiences i know it's difficult to play an instrument in the cold.. i wonder how these guys did it.. for 3 hrs too!

mom loved it.. i will have to dig up more info about it.. maybe they come to the UK soon?


sky said...

Come on, organisation wasn't that bad. Keep in mind they did start at 9 pm, even if it was slated to start at 8'30.
I, the hater of all things crowded, wasn't even annoyed. You and your dad just stressed me out :p