Classical violinist-turned-impresario Evgeniy Morozov encapsulates Dubai’s emergence as the global entertainment hub since the turn of the new millennium
Classical violinist-turned-impresario Evgeniy Morozov encapsulates Dubai’s emergence as the global entertainment hub since the turn of the new millennium.
Morozov, 49, who spent his formative years in Minsk, Belarus — a part of the undivided Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that disintegrated in December 1991— found fame as a classical violinist in Europe before he came to the region in 1997.
“Bahrain was my first port of call. It was a hip-and-happening place in the 1990s and I stayed there for the next four years after performing across western Europe since leaving Minsk,” he says.
In March 2001, he came to Dubai with his quartet to play at the iconic Burj Al Arab. “It was my home for the next 12 years. I played all kinds of music — from Western classical to Hollywood soundtracks and songs of Elton John, Josh Groban, The Queen etc,” he recalls.
Despite his training in classical music, Morozov considers himself more of an entertainer, who is open to playing renditions that strike a chord with a diverse audience. “I started undergoing training in music in Belarusian State Academy of Music, Minsk, from a tender age of six, but I never restricted myself to classical music,” he says.
However, the classical musical training stood him in good stead and helped him to maintain equipoise in life, as Dubai’s entertainment landscape has been undergoing a tumultuous change through the years even before the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic struck.
“I had branched into event management back in 2004, as the city was making rapid strides to become a leading entertainment hub of the Middle East,” he says.
In 2010, he set up his own enterprise, M Premiere, which has been bringing headline entertainment acts from Russia, former Soviet republics and western Europe since 2017 under the aegis of PaRus International Musical Festival (see box).
His musical performances may have taken a backseat, as the rest of his quartet members have left Dubai over the years and they occasionally reunite for an encore, but Morozov is happy to reinvent himself as an impresario, whose skills go beyond playing violin and “organising and executing any and all types of events”.
“Truth be told, I’ve made a name for myself in event management — whether you are planning a concert, a holiday party, a gala dinner, corporate event, a charity ball, or any other type of event, be it large or small,” he adds. “Everything is at my team’s fingertips and customised for individual needs. I work with an exclusive range of clients and guarantee privacy and confidentiality to all of them.”
Prior to PaRus, he had organised a big concert at the same venue in 2016, which “emboldened me to hold a similar event with a new branding”. In November 2018, coinciding with the second edition of PaRus, Morozov teamed up with Anton Viner, a Russian businessman, who owns a network of Uzbek restaurants called Uryuk in Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg and London, to open Chalet Berezka, a 300-plus-seater fine-dining outlet serving popular dishes from Russia and former Soviet republics at The Pointe overlooking the breathtaking Palm Jumeirah.
Four years on, Viner may no longer be associated with Chalet Berezka, but Morozov has been able to get two more Moscow-based investors on board.
“Chalet Berezka has become popular among our community members. Our live music, karaoke, an exquisitely-crafted menu and house beverages have become a star attraction among the diners,” Morozov says.
The 40-odd staff members of Chalet Berezka are a microcosm of Russia and the former Soviet republics, who are bound by a common language, Russian, and a shared history and culture amid a changing world order.
“The Russian-speaking community have started coming to Dubai in big numbers in the past seven-odd years and for many, Chalet Berezka has become a one-stop destination because of its word-of-mouth publicity,” he says.
Beyond food and beverage sector, live entertainment is a risky proposition, Morozov says. “I’ve been insistent on live entertainment insurance, however high the premium be. This helps to future-proof against any potential losses and commercial flops,” he adds.
A thought that’s likely to resonate well among impresarios and organisers of live shows and events based in Dubai. And there’s no bigger learning about uncertainties than the raging contagion that wreaked havoc for the past two years.
From PaRus music fest to Dresden Opera Ball
Few know that Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed at Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening ceremony on October 1, 2021, thanks to Evegeniy Morozov. The acclaimed musician performed again on November 8 last year at the Events Arena, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, as a part of his Believe World Tour and as the signature concert of the fifth annual PaRus international music festival 2021. The concert featured the hits from maestro Bocelli’s latest album Believe. Philipp Kirkorov, Leonid Agutin, Diana Arbenina, Basta, BI-2 were the other performers. This year the event will be held at the same venue between November 3 and 6.
José Plácido Domingo Embil, Marina Rebeka, Riz Khan, Oksana Fedorova, The European Peace Chamber Orchestra Dresden, Anton Lubchenko will perform at the Dresden Opera Ball at Dubai Opera on November 15, which is being organised by M Premiere.