The Dubai Opera is a world-class performing arts centre located in the heart of the city’s vibrant downtown district. Since its opening in 2016, it has become a cultural icon and a symbol of Dubai’s commitment to promoting arts and culture. The stunning building, envisioned by renowned architect Janus Rostock, features a unique dhow-shaped design that pays homage to the city’s maritime heritage.
The Opera House is more than just a venue for opera performances; it hosts a diverse range of events, including ballet, concert, theatre, orchestra performances, exhibitions and more. With a seating capacity of 2,000, the Dubai Opera offers an intimate and immersive experience for audience members. Its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class acoustics ensure that every performance is a memorable one.
Moreover, as the centrepiece of the vibrant Dubai Opera District, the Opera House in Dubai is surrounded by a plethora of dining, shopping and entertainment options. In this post, I will take you on a journey through the Opera in Dubai, exploring its history, architecture and the experiences it offers.
The Dubai Opera District: A hub for arts and culture
The Dubai Opera District is a master-planned community designed to promote arts and culture in the city. Developed by Emaar Properties, the district is strategically located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, offering easy access to the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.
The Opera District is more than just a home to the Opera House. It also features luxury residential towers, hotels, retail outlets, galleries and a park. This vibrant district has become a focal point for artists, performers and art enthusiasts from around the world. Its pedestrian-friendly streets, green spaces and the Dubai Fountain waterfront promenade make it an inviting destination.
Besides, this thriving hub for arts and culture plays host to a variety of events throughout the year. They include art festivals, exhibitions and workshops. The Dubai Opera District has truly become a melting pot of creativity, showcasing the best of local and international talent.
History and architecture of the Opera House in Dubai
The vision for a world-class performing arts centre in Dubai began to take shape in 2008 when Emaar Properties commissioned Danish architect Janus Rostock to design the Dubai Opera. Rostock, along with the engineering firm WS Atkins, set out to create a masterpiece that would not only be a symbol of Dubai’s cultural ambitions but also a tribute to the city’s rich history and heritage.
The result is an architectural marvel that blends traditional and contemporary design elements. The unique dhow-shaped design of the Opera House in Dubai is inspired by the traditional Arabian sailing vessels that played a crucial role in the city’s maritime history. The building’s exterior features a series of intricate geometric patterns, reminiscent of the Islamic art and architecture that characterises the region.
Design and concert hall
The interior of the Dubai Opera is a harmonious blend of contemporary design and traditional elements. The foyer features a magnificent chandelier made up of hundreds of individual LED lights, creating a dazzling display of light and colour. The walls are adorned with intricate geometric patterns, a nod to the rich heritage of Islamic art and architecture.
The concert hall is the heart of the Opera House, with a seating capacity of 2,000. Designed to offer an intimate and immersive experience, the hall features state-of-the-art acoustics and cutting-edge technology. One of the most notable features is the flexible seating configuration, which allows the space to be transformed from a traditional theatre to a flat-floor space for banquets and other events.
The stage is equipped with a hydraulic lift system that enables it to accommodate various types of performances, from operas and ballets to concerts and theatrical productions. The Opera in Dubai also boasts a 900-square-metre rooftop terrace, offering stunning views of the Burj Khalifa and the surrounding cityscape.
Dubai Opera shows and concerts
The Dubai Opera is a hub for a diverse range of performances and events, catering to a wide variety of tastes and interests. From classical opera and ballet to contemporary theatre and music concerts, the Opera offers something for everyone.
Some of the world’s most renowned artists and companies have graced the stage at the Dubai Opera, including the Mariinsky Ballet, the London Symphony Orchestra and the legendary tenor Plácido Domingo. The Opera in Dubai has also been host to popular musicals and theatrical productions, such as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.
In addition to international acts, the Dubai Opera House also showcases local talent and promotes the rich cultural heritage of the UAE. Traditional Emirati performances, as well as Arabic music concerts and theatre productions, are regularly featured on the Opera’s program.
Booking Dubai Opera tickets: what are the best seats
When booking tickets for a performance at the Dubai Opera, choosing the right seat can greatly enhance your overall experience. The seating capacity of 2,000 ensures that there are no bad seats in the house, but some areas offer better views and acoustics than others.
For the best view of the stage, consider booking seats in the Stalls section (Premium or Platinum zones), which is closest to the stage and offers excellent sightlines. The balcony sections, located on the upper levels, also provide good views and acoustics, although they are further away from the stage.
Have Fun Dubai’s Tip: For one of the latest concerts, I booked a seat in the first row of the balcony, and I was very happy with it. Even if you cannot afford the most expensive seats, you are still guaranteed a great experience.
If you prefer a more immersive experience, consider booking seats in the boxes, which are located on the sides of the auditorium. These seats offer a unique perspective, allowing you to get up close and personal with the performers. Ultimately, the best seat for you will depend on your personal preferences and the type of performance you are attending.
Dubai Opera tour: Behind the scenes experience
The Dubai Opera offers 1-hour guided tours that provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this iconic venue. The tour takes you through the various areas of the opera house, including the auditorium, backstage and dressing rooms, giving you a unique insight into the inner workings of a world-class performing arts centre.
During the tour, you will learn about the history and architecture of the Opera in Dubai. Moreover, the guide will tell you more about the cutting-edge technology that makes it one of the most advanced performance spaces in the world. You will also have the opportunity to see the impressive collection of costumes, props and other memorabilia from past productions.
The Dubai Opera tour is a must-do experience for anyone interested in the performing arts, architecture or simply curious about what goes on behind the curtain.
The Opera in Dubai features a range of dining options to suit every taste.
- Belcanto Restaurant: Offering Italian cuisine, Belcanto Restaurant is a fine-dining venue with a focus on fresh and authentic flavours. The restaurant’s menu features classic Italian dishes such as risotto, pasta and pizza, as well as a selection of seafood and meat-based options. Furthermore, you can get there a pre-show set menu.
- Eden Bar: Located on the rooftop of the Dubai Opera House, Eden Bar is a stylish and trendy venue with a stunning view of the city skyline. The bar serves a wide selection of cocktails, wines and beers, along with a variety of light bites and snacks.
- The Lounge: With a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, The Lounge is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea before the performance. The venue also offers a range of light bites, sandwiches and desserts.
In addition, there are many other cafes, restaurants and bars in the neighbourhood, offering a diverse range of dining options. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings before or after the Opera House concerts. The choice is big, from food courts at the Dubai Mall with budget-friendly options to more extravagant meals at Armani/Hashi, At.mosphere Burj Khalifa, Asado at Palace Downtown or Bice Mare.
Dubai Opera dress code
What to wear in the Dubai Opera? The Opera House in Dubai encourages a smart-casual dress code for all performances and events. While there is no strict dress code in place, it is recommended that guests dress appropriately for the occasion. For evening performances, formal or semi-formal attire is appropriate, while daytime performances may allow for more casual dress.
That being said, you are welcome to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. During my visits, I saw people in evening dresses and suits, as well as simply jeans, shirts and sweaters.
- Dubai Opera address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Opera House is located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, in the Opera District. The Dubai Opera’s central location makes it a convenient destination for tourists and locals alike, with easy access to other popular attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Fountain.
How to get to the Opera House in Dubai
There are several ways to get to the Opera House in Dubai, depending on your location and preferences.
- By metro: The nearest metro station is the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station (red line), and from there, it is a short walk to the Opera District
- By bus: Take the bus to the Dubai Mall or The Palace Hotel bus stops
- By taxi: Taxis and ride-sharing services such as RTA, Uber and Careem are also widely available in Dubai
- By car: You can park your car at the P3 underground parking below the Opera
Other concert venues in Dubai
While the Opera in Dubai is undoubtedly the most iconic and popular concert venue in the city, there are several other places worth checking out if you are a fan of live music and performance. Some of the other best concert venues in Dubai include:
- Dubai World Trade Centre: A multipurpose venue that hosts a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions and conferences.
- Coca-Cola Arena: A state-of-the-art indoor arena in the City Walk district that can accommodate up to 17,000 people for concerts and other events.
- Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium: A popular venue for music concerts and other events, located close to Dubai Creek.
- Dubai Media City Amphitheatre: An outdoor venue that hosts a variety of events, including live music concerts and festivals.
- The Theatre at the Mall of the Emirates: Located within the Mall of the Emirates, The Theatre is a 500-seat venue that regularly welcomes stand-up comedy shows, ballet performances, musicals and other concerts.
Other attractions and things to do nearby
There are several other exciting destinations located near the Opera House in Dubai which you can visit before or after the performance.
- Dubai Mall: Just 5 minutes away, you’ll find the iconic Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping centres, featuring over 1,200 retail stores, many dining and entertainment options.
- Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo: Located inside the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium features a 10-million-litre tank with more than 33,000 sea creatures. Book your Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo tickets here
- Dubai Ice Rink: Go ice skating on the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink inside the Dubai Mall, surrounded by desert sands. Book your Dubai Ice Rink tickets here
- Sky Views Dubai: A short walk away inside the Dubai View Towers, you will find the famous Sky Views Dubai observation deck offering fantastic Burj Khalifa views, the Glass Slide, made completely of glass, and the Edge Walk outdoor experience. Book your Sky Views Dubai tickets here
- Dubai Fountain: The Dubai Fountain, located just outside the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, offers a must-see water and light show. It is synchronised to music and provides a magical and captivating experience. The shows run every 30 minutes from 18:00. They are free to attend, but to get closer views, you can take an abra ride in the lake. Book your abra boat ride in the Dubai Fountain Lake here
- Souk Al Bahar: Adjacent to the Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar is a modern market featuring goods, such as textiles, carpets, lamps and souvenirs, as well as plenty of dining venues with amazing Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain views.
Prepare for your Dubai trip
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