What makes Dubai Opera a unique venue?
Ahead of Dubai Opera's grand opening in a week’s time, we take a look at the venue’s key facts and figures.
Dubai Opera is the city’s first purpose-built performing arts theatre, in the heart of The Opera District in Downtown Dubai, with views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain. The Opera District is expected to be the world's largest cultural centre when it is complete in just four years time.
The dhow-shaped building, which took three years to build, was designed by architect Janus Rostock at Atkins, and can transform into three modes: a theatre, a concert hall and a banquet hall, with around 2,000 seats when in concert mode. This functionality really sets Dubai Opera apart from other cultural venues. The bow of the structure will contain the main stage, orchestra and audience areas, as well as the sky garden and restaurants, while the elongated hull area will house waiting areas and parking. Rostock was named as one of the most powerful architects in the Middle East earlier this year and the project won GCC Project of the Year (MEP Middle East Awards 2015).
Jasper Hope was appointed as Chief Executive at the start of 2015, having previously spent seven years as Chief Operating Office at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Speaking about Dubai Opera’s first calendar of performances, he said: “Dubai Opera is bringing a spectacular calendar of performances – from defining operas to exhilarating ballets and compelling classical music in our opening year. The line-up of performances will be a revelation for culture-lovers in the city. We are bringing world-class performers to Dubai who will appeal to residents and tourists alike and will help broaden even further the incredible international appeal of Dubai.”
The inaugural programme of events features 49 performances, spanning opera, ballet, classical music and family entertainment, with legendary Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo as the very first performer scheduled to appear. Other highlights include José Carreras, Hussein Al Jassm, Anoushka Shankar, The Barber of Seville and The Nutcracker on Ice. The venue is expected to host over 200 events in its first year of operations.
Read the August 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.