The world’s grandest new performing arts venue opened its doors recently, in a city which is convinced that it is the world’s grandest. The Dubai Opera, a dhow-shaped architectural vision designed by architect Janus Rostock, promises to rival the Sydney Opera House in terms of force of recall. Curtains rose for the first time on August 31, to the soaring notes of celebrated tenor Plácido Domingo. In coming months, the 2,000-seater venue will host music concerts of every kind, theatre performances, opera, film screenings, ballet, child-focused shows, art exhibitions and even weddings. How exactly will it offer this staggering diversity of experience? By transforming ‘modes’: from theatre to concert hall to ‘flat floor’ (and thus an event hall). The Dubai Opera building also houses a rooftop restaurant and sky garden with views of the Dubai Fountain and that other instantly recognisable structure, the Burj Khalifa.