Campari has a longstanding tradition of collaborating with creative minds and emerging artists.
Since the late 19th century, the Italian brand has not only inspired passion in bartenders across the world to create iconic masterpieces at the forefront of cocktail culture, such as the Negroni but also through art and creativity, inspiring artists and musicians alike.
To commemorate this legacy, Campari has teamed up with Belcanto’s five-time award-winning chef bartender from The World’s 50 Best Bars, Mikhail Melnik, to create a special collection of Negroni cocktails inspired by two female powerhouses in the world of art and music – Kristel Bechara and Yana Mann.
The Negroni is to this decade what the cosmopolitan was to the ’90s—a zeitgeist-defining cocktail that’s as beloved as it is ubiquitous. And with Mikhail’s bar genius and natural talent for combining different ingredients together, drink aficionados are in for a series of imaginative twists to the classic Negroni. A must try is the “Victorian Crochet,” a concoction inspired by Kristel Bechara’s art piece of the same moniker, made of jasmine infused aperitif, Campari, and sparkling wine – it is a bitter-sweet combination of herbal and flower notes. “I Care If You Listen” is opera singer Yana Mann’s favorite quote and this cocktail is a beautiful mix of Mediterranean Gin, Campari, white aperitif infused with oysters, pastis, and salt.
Belcanto’s chef bartender, Mikhail Melnik says, “Kristel’s works of art are very colorful and playful but hold so much depth and meaning. I wanted to create a drink that would pay homage to her creative process. The Victorian crochet style of knitting came from the Victorian era, at the same time that the industrial revolution happened in Europe. In the bitter sweet drink you can find gentle notes of flowers as in Kristel’s work. I also used steel wool as a garnish on the cocktail as a reference to the Victorian era. Yana has a very tough exterior and an edgy look, but when she sings, it’s like the gates of heaven opening up to a thousand angels singing in chorus. I wanted to encapsulate that feeling and that contrast through this wonderful concoction. When I hear this phrase, ‘I Care If You Listen,’ I am immediately transported to the seaside with a light breeze and a salty after taste on the lips. This drink is a riff on the classic Negroni with sea salt notes. You can find salty and umami tastes based on the bitter sweet profile of the drink.”
He adds, “Although music and art are sacred forms of human expression, I believe that there is also an art and symphony to bartending. Very similarly, a glass is a mixologist’s canvas, and liquid is his or her medium. I am excited to showcase the extensive talent and knowledge our bar team has to offer to every guest at Belcanto.”
Kristel Bechara is the Middle East’s first female NFT artist. Born in Lebanon and based in Dubai, she is one of the pioneers in the region to adopt NFT technology to launch her most recent series, Beauty in DeFi. Recognized for her dynamic patterns and expressive colours, her artwork consists of the revolutionary creation of photographic imagery using oil, acrylic, and giclée printmaking mediums to depict complex emotions and also portray the human condition. Her artistic process involves creating stencil-like drawings that are combined with modern mixed media lines to form multi-layered fantasy paintings. Kristel’s work has been displayed around the world to great appreciation and demand, especially from galleries in Tokyo, Milano, Brussels, and France. She has received high acclaim in the UAE as well, notably winning the UAE Resident Artist Award at the 2018 World Art Dubai for her collection, Beauty in Diversity.
Yana Mann is an internationally recognized mezzo soprano, who has performed in prestigious venues such as the Theatre of Digital Art in Dubai, and lately the prestigious Carnegie Hall, which has hosted some of the world’s finest artists such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland as well as The Beatles. Her extensive musical background comes from theatre and opera, but she has been exploring classical music with new genres and musical architectures. Yana has released two albums: “Los Poemas de bar”, a work commissioned to minimalist composer Julián De La Chica, and published by Independent Brooklyn Record Label, Irreverence Group Music; and “Mandala – VI Poems”, the first part of the forthcoming and larger studio album, “Paisaje Nihilista”.
Negroni Week will run from the 12th to the 18th of September. Guests can pair Mikhail’s limited edition cocktail menu with Belcanto’s exceptional a la carte cuisine orchestrated by brand chef, Giacomo Lombardi along with his army of culinary talents including Neapolitan Pizza World Champion, Chef Vincenzo Palermo and Executive Pastry Chef Anthony Falcone, who brings his expertise from a variety of Michelin-starred restaurants. During that week, the fine-dining Italian venue located at the Dubai Opera will also run a series of short, immersive, digital art shows displaying a selection of Kristel’s art pieces from her series, “Garden of Life.” Vocal powerhouse, Yana Mann will be enthralling dining guests with her ethereal voice for an exclusive one-night only live performance on Friday, the 16th of September.
Part of Belcanto’s brand promise is to curate a series of culturally fueled dining and entertainment experiences that merge art, music and gastronomy. Stay tuned for more of Belcanto’s multi-sensorial monthly programs that put a spotlight on up & coming artists in the UAE as well as talents from around the world.
Located at the rooftop of Dubai Opera, Belcanto is open every night from 6pm to 12pm. For reservations, email email@example.com or call +97144560936.