Interesting question! I have done quite a bit of curved veneer work on furniture but never anything this big. Which means that what I'm about to say is a semi-educated guess.
I think a lot would depend on how tight a radius you're working with. If the radius is pretty big and the curve is fairly gentle, you could probably get away with veneering the panel while it's flat. Chances are that the veneer would compress enough, and the contact adhesive would give enough, that it would work OK. On the other hand, if you're dealing with a relatively small radius and a pretty tight curve, I would not assume that I could veneer the panel flat and still get it to conform to the radius. For a smaller radius/tighter curve, I would veneer the panel after it's installed.
I assume you will be using paper-backed veneer and contact adhesive, which are probably good choices for this project.
Good luck and post pictures!
Maker of the finest saw dust since 1980, give or take
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