Dubai (December 16, 2022)—Built for Expo 2020 Dubai, the Al Wasl Dome was recently repurposed into a 3,000-seat concert venue. For the reopening, the dome hosted A.R. Rahman’s all-female Firdaus Orchestra and a 30-piece choir, accompanied by UK-based Indian singer Abi Sampa and her band.
The Al Wasl Dome re-opening concert on November 19, 2022, included performances of scores by iconic composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer, as well as collaborative work by both Zimmer and Rahman. To complete the merging of eastern and western sounds, Rahman’s solo score compositions were also performed, accompanied by the choir. Prior to Rahman’s production, the likes of Coldplay, Alicia Keys and John Newman had all graced the venue with performances of their own.
For the event, Rahman’s team called on sound designer and mix engineer Phil Wright, who opted to use DPA Microphones. The brand’s 4099 CORE Instrument, 2011 Twin Diaphragm, 4011ES Cardioid Condenser and 4066 Omnidirectional Headset Microphones were used for the production.
“The band and orchestra were primarily 4099s,” he said. “This included the guitar, French horn and cello, as well as the more traditional instruments such as the tabla, harmonium, ney, oud, sitar, daf, frame drum and qanun. These are tiny, very quiet instruments and the DPA 4099s really brought out their sound within this massive orchestral texture we had going on. For those instruments that were a bit more open, we used the 2011s, and then the double basses in the orchestra were on my 4011ES mics with 19 mm capsules. For the choir, we had 30 of the 4066 wired headsets. Overall, we had around 120 people on stage between the 30-person chorus, a 75-piece orchestra and Abi Sampa’s ensemble of fifteen.”