By Shruthi Nair
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was the longest running show to be staged at Dubai opera
The Phantom of the Opera was the longest running show to appear at Dubai Opera when the final curtain fell last night and helped see a surge in multiple week engagements and midweek demands at the iconic venue, with one Monday performance selling 91 percent of available tickets.
“We already see technology having a big presence in our big productions like the magic behind the Phantom of the Opera. The walls can disappear, floors can rise. And people walk in and ask where’s the other venue?” Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, Director of Programming and Head of Dubai Opera, told Arabian Business in a video interview.
The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most financially successful musicals of all time, has also been a catalyst for helping to promote the Downtown Dubai venue, which opened in August 2016.
“It’s brought us new audiences. It is the longest running show that Dubai Opera has ever had. 30 performances in total,” Aoustin-Sellami said.
Staging a show of this scale comes with its own set of challenges and one of the major ones is people’s perceptions of Dubai. “Dubai is seen as a city that throws a lot of money. And even this perception that we can charge astronomical ticket prices because everyone in Dubai has a lot of money. But the reality is it is like any other city and we have to be mindful of not pricing people very high,” he said.
Another challenge is its geographical location, as the artists and sets all need to be flown in, rather than sourced locally. “When we are trying to attract these international productions, convincing them to come here and [the] cost of bringing the people and the sets here is a challenge,” he said.
And therefore, opening up of Saudi’s tourism industry, according to him, is more of a boon for this region than a bane as it opens up the market for promotors. “The audiences are growing and it us creating a network whether it be Saudi, Oman, Kuwait or Bahrain, we actually become more attractive as a touring route,” he explained.
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