It's possible to find just about anything in a mall in Dubai. A ski slope, an elephant water clock, and, as I discovered last week, a Philharmonic Orchestra.
It was incredible enough to find that Dubai had a Philharmonic Orchestra, but to have them perform with an Australian Jazz Quartet an ambitious concert titled, 'Jazz meets Mozart' - well, that was almost like finding parking at the mall on a Friday night. Almost.
The lobby of the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC), just above the ski slope, started filing up by 7.30 p.m. but the concert only began at around 8.30. One easily excused the delay when the musicians began playing. Spellbinding just doesn't begin to describe it. A rousing samba rendition of Mozart's haunting Symphony No. 40 made it impossible to keep ones feet from tapping. But my favourite was the overture from 'The Marriage of Figaro', Unlike the energetic piece originally written by Mozart, the jazzed up version had a slow plaintive beginning with just the lead violinist and the saxophonist which progressed at a steady pace with a few piano solos, and then built up to the familiar crescendo with the entire Orchestra furiously working their instruments.
The conductor, Philip Maier, seemed very self-assured, and the Orchestra never struck a wrong chord. Two hours later, as I was driving back home still humming snatches of melodies played, it struck me that for once being a mall rat wasn’t such a bad thing after all.