Dubai Opera, Sisters Grimm host multisensory show to mark 50 years
08 Dec 2021
Pietra De Mello-Pittman and Ella Spira with their MBE.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Dubai Opera and British theatrical production company, Sisters Grimm presenting, “50 FOR 50,” an immersive, multisensory exhibition featuring music and 50 landscape paintings of the UAE to commemorate its Golden Jubilee celebration, by Grammy-nominated composer and painter Ella Spira MBE, from Nov.29, to Dec.14. 50 For 50 stages an emotional, audiovisual journey and every painting has a unique bespoke score composed by Spira, in collaboration with Db Gad and Emirati singers, Shamma Hamdan and Don Abdullah.
Their music was blended together with sounds from the natural world of creatures which are unique to the region including the calls of Arabian Collared Kingfisher and Peacock, the soaring chorus of cicadas in the mountains in Kalba and the sounds of Arab horses in the sand and seas of Saadiyat Beach. “This unique exhibition is the culmination of Sisters Grimm’s experiences and discoveries across the UAE, with my paintings created in situ over the past 18 months and my music featuring sounds of Emirati life, which I was privileged to be invited to share with them” Ella Spira revealed. “The artworks are intended to draw awareness to the fragile environment and to inspire protection of the natural landscape.
The series depicts the story of a land which has not only inspired unity and collaboration within its community but has also been dramatically transformed by industry,” she added. 50 For 50 hopes to leave a legacy honouring the United Arab Emirates’ 50 years of formation, rich history, natural beauty and unique achievements. The 50 For 50 experience culminates with the world premiere screening of the Sisters Grimm film, “Daughters of the Wind Overture.” Directed by Jhenyfy Muller, based on a story by Stephen Powell, which features all 50 paintings sharing Dubai Opera’s Main Stage alongside former Royal Ballet ballerina Pietra De Mello-Pittman, co-founder of Sisters Grimm, and singers DB Gad (50 FOR 50 co-composer) and Madyan Hamza, singing in Arabic and English.
“We saw the global pandemic as an opportunity to pivot our production and since then we have been developing new and innovative ways to present our projects, which promote understanding and dialogue between cultures and communities,” Pietra De Mello-Pittman commented, recalling the early stages of the exhibition. “We came to the UAE in 2019 to develop a new Arab world show and ultimately curated 50 For 50 this year, which embodies all our aspirations. Our intention is to use our creativity to embrace different cultures and highlight the social issues we are all faced with through feel good experiences,” she added. Sisters Grimm was founded by Ella Spira and Pietra De Mello-Pittman MBE in 2009, with the mission to produce work that is relevant, driven by equality and diversity and with social impact at its core. In 2019, the award-winning artists decided to reside between the UK and the UAE and set up their first international office in Dubai to immerse themselves in the Emirate’s culture.