All the performers you can spot at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2023


The 20th edition of the festival has a number of stellar performances in store. 

Abu Dhabi Festival will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Under the theme The Will for Evolution, Abu Dhabi Festival 2023 will reflect the nation’s unwavering drive for progress and prosperity. The headlining events will take place during the first three weeks of March with its Abroad Programme and community-wide initiatives happening throughout the year.  


Juan Diego Florez and Friends

1 March 

Abu Dhabi Festival kicks off its thrilling set of events at Emirates Palace with Juan Diego Flórez and Friends by the acclaimed Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who will take audiences on a two-hour musical journey accompanied by an orchestra.   


De Scheherezade a Yo, Carmen

10 March 

De Scheherezade a Yo, Carmen will premiere for the first time in the Middle East at Emirates Palace. The show is a co-production by Abu Dhabi Festival and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. 


Gregory Potter

11 March 

Two-time Grammy Award-winning Jazz musician Gregory Porter will make his UAE debut performing a set of his smooth original tracks and some captivating renditions of the classics.  


Recital Series: Bruce Liu

14 March 

Winner of the 2021 International Chopin Piano Competition and international star pianist Bruce Liu, performs a thrilling programme of classical and romantic highlights in a spectacular recital. 


Recital Series: Haochen Zhang

16 March 


Haochen Zhang who became an international sensation upon winning the gold medal at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009 will perform in a unique recital showcasing the fearless imagination and spectacular musical mastery for which he is known. 


From West to East: A Classic Odyssey

17 March 

Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun will conduct the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Modena Pavarotti-Freni, joined by world-famous Chinese cellist Jian Wang, in an unforgettable musical journey entitled From West to East: A Classical Odyssey.  

Featuring an iconic repertoire of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, the performance will be followed by the UAE premiere of his original Pipa Concerto. 


Buddha Passion by Tan Dun

18 March 

Abu Dhabi Festival will present for the first time in the Middle East Buddha Passion, Tan Dun’s 95-minute oratorio illustrating six Buddha parables and stories.  


Pearl Diver’s Daughter

19 March 

The world premiere of the Pearl Diver’s Daughter will take place where Emirati writer Maitha Al Khayat and Emirati composer Eman Al Hashimi join forces with American contemporary dance Company E for the longest continuous augmented reality experience ever created, blending cutting edge technology with choreography, music and narrative.  


Leia Zhu & Benjamin Engeli

20 March 

16-year-old violin prodigy Leia Zhu will also take the stage as part of the recital series accompanied by versatile Swiss musician Benjamin Engeli on piano. She will display her renowned talent and impressive technical ability in this special recital featuring a beautiful repertoire of Mozart, Strauss, Debussy, Wieniawski and Sarasate. 


Ziryab’s Return

October 2023 


The legend of Ziryab comes to life as Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma joins a special guest musician from Spain on a historic musical journey from Assyria to Seville. Based on the music by one of the greatest proponents of the oud, the ninth-century medieval musician and poet synonymous with the musical cultures of Andalusia, the two masters will be joined by the 2350BC Orchestra in their greatest performance yet. 


Al-Andalus & The Ancient Hesperia

11 December 

Grammy-award-winning Spanish conductor and musician Jordi Savall vividly performs the finest music of the Spanish Golden Age alongside his vocal ensembles La Capella Reial De Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI during the Abu Dhabi Festival and NYUAD co-presentation of Al-Andalus & the Ancient Hesperia. 


In addition to the exciting programme of events happening both in the UAE and abroad, Abu Dhabi Festival will continue to present its annual community and education initiatives throughout the year which support students and artists alike.  

For more information about Abu Dhabi Festival 2023, visit abudhabifestival.ae 



1 March 2023-11 December 2023 



Multiple locations across Abu Dhabi 


Follow Yalla – Abu Dhabi Life for events taking place across the capital 

Image source Abu Dhabi Festival

Shaheera Anwar

Hungover on her love for Middle East, Shaheera is back on the UAE soil. But this time, it’s the capital that has caught her attention. When she’s not writing or overthinking life, Shaheera likes to laze around with her family, catch up on Netflix and scroll away on Twitter. She’s also a millennial trying to learn the ropes of TikTok in the hopes of going viral someday – the good kinda viral *fingers crossed* She tweets @ShaheeraAnwar