Following the success of A Beautiful World in 2016, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi presented its second opera project in 2018, under the direction of Karen Gillingham. Water in the Desert: A Zayed Legacy, was an opera that embraces music, drama, movement, design, and film; with a cast of two professional opera singers accompanied by over 80 school children.

Presented in partnership with the Cranleigh Abu Dhabi School and the Ministry of Tolerance UAE. Production photography courtesy of Waleed-Shah.

The creative team worked with over 80 school children to devise, create, rehearse and perform this original opera. Read more information about the creative process. The project was in two parts – an initial devising period which was held in June 2018, followed by rehearsals, staging and performance on 25th and 26th October 2018. Below we see students exploring choreographic, design, storyline and musical inspirations in production rehearsals:

Water in the Desert: A Zayed
HE Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan arrives for the World Premiere of ‘Water in the Desert: A Zayed Legacy’ at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy of Waleed Shah.
  • Karen Gillingham, Director, Artistic Director
  • Hannah Conway, Composer, Music Director
  • Natasha Khamjani, Choreographer
  • Rhiannon Newman-Brown, Designer
  • Peter Cant, Librettist
  • Robert Gildon, Baritone
  • Natalie Montakhab, Soprano
  • Magali Charrier, Designer Videographer
  • Susan Hamilton, Producer

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