Candlelight dinner is old news, hello candlelight concerts
Candlelight Concerts strive to create events to cultivate the city's unique venues, celebrate the greatest composers and local musical talent, whilst contributing to making culture accessible to people who wouldn’t usually have access to classical music — and all this, illuminated by thousands of candle
When the pandemic hit, we got introduced to newer experiences and terminologies like vertical concerts and yes, of course, virtual concerts. Art is always changing, as it should and will. So, when we heard of the concept of Candlelight Concerts, we got curious. Many questions popped up in our heads like, what is the future of concerts, what are the unique aspects of performing in a candlelit space, and more.
To start with, let’s understand what Candlelight Concerts are. These are a series of original music concerts created by Fever aimed at democratising access to culture by allowing people all over the world to enjoy live music performances played by local musicians in various stunning locations illuminated by thousands of candles. Fever is a global live-entertainment discovery platform and has brought the best experiences across various cities since 2014. This particular concept was conceived as a classical music series featuring works from the greatest composers, such as Vivaldi, Mozart, and Chopin. Now, the ever-growing list of programs includes a wide variety of themes and genres, including tributes to contemporary artists like Queen, ABBA, Coldplay, and Ed Sheeran, as well as shows dedicated to K-Pop, movie soundtracks and more.
In Dubai, one of the Concerts in February was a 65-minute solo piano program, allowing viewers to discover the music from iconic cinematic masterpieces including the Sound Of Music, West Side Story, La La Land, Mary Poppins, Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz and more at L'Alliance Française. Last week, we experienced two more Concerts: A Tribute to Queen and Vivaldi's Four Seasons at Queen Elizabeth II Theatre, Dubai. In our conversation with Rachid Elameri, General Manager Middle East, Fever, we understand what makes these concerts inimitable experiences.
The concept is new to Dubai, how has your experience been so far? The audience’s feedback in Dubai has been great. Our goal is to keep expanding around the region and democratising access to classical music, whilst discovering unique spaces that are part of the cultural heritage of cities, giving visibility to talented local artists and all this in a unique atmosphere.
The unique locations The programs are held in stunning locations worldwide, noted for their historic nature or unique character, from modern rooftops with great views to iconic cathedrals, palaces, libraries, and gardens. “In addition, each venue is lit by thousands of candles, creating a serene atmosphere that enhances the listening experience,” added Rachid.
Varied and beautiful The multi-sensory experience has evolved to feature different elements, such as ballet dancers or aerial performers, as well as other genres, such as jazz, soul, opera, flamenco and more. “We always want to meet local audiences' expectations and create programmes that meet their tastes. For example, in Canada, fans can enjoy Candlelight: Tribute to Celine Dion and more, which includes the Canadian singer's greatest hits,” said Rachid.
Dubai was chosen as the first city in the Middle East to receive the Candlelight Concerts for its developing arts, culture and entertainment sectors. Whilst we still offer the traditional format in many of our locations, we brought the Candlelight Concerts here to acknowledge that consumption patterns have changed over the years — particularly for younger people — and by offering a more multi-sensory, immersive experience, we are noticing a broader and more diverse audience coming to the shows.
Rachid Elameri, General Manager Middle East, Fever
Opportunities for local and talented musicians They always hire talented local musicians, who align with their belief that classical music can reach a diverse audience and demonstrate this by performing compositions for all tastes. Recently, they launched Candlelight Original Sessions with local artists such as Alexander Acha in México, JOY in Australia, Anavitória in Brazil, and others.
A consistently high-quality experience “We take customer feedback extremely seriously and spend a lot of time and effort addressing elements of the experience that customers point out as missing their expectations. We apply these learnings across all the concerts we produce, not only locally but globally — and the other way around, of course,” informed Rachid.
How long did it take from a concept to the stage for the same? Candlelight Concerts launched in 2019 when Fever was already hosting more traditional classical music concerts, and saw a need to make this genre more accessible to its users, aiming to reach a new demographic beyond the conventional classical music core.
Throw some light (pun intended!) on the logistics of bringing alive such a concert “Candlelight Concerts use thousands of candles to create a unique and intimate atmosphere that transforms the stunning venues we work with to produce this experience. For security reasons, we use LED candles,” said Rachid.
How big a role do acoustics and architecture play in hosting such Concerts? “Candlelight Concerts are known for bringing classical music out of traditional concert halls and into unique venues. So acoustics, the venue’s architecture, and what it represents for the city play a big part in our location choices,” he added.
The future of concerts “Classical music has many beautiful traditions, from remaining silent and not clapping between movements to wearing black to perform. The introduction of ‘tribute’ programs more aligned to jazz, rock and pop artists but performed by a string quartet or other classical instruments also enable us to connect with a broader audience that might have never considered a classical music concert before,” said Rachid.
Duration: One-hour on an average, with the doors opening 30 mins prior to the show start time Candles: Thousands of LEDs Reach: Present in more than 100 cities worldwide Watched by: Three million attendees to date
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.