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Jordanian Soprano Zeina Barhoum Launches An Eye on Music and Education Programme

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Spreading Cultural Literacy through Opera and Classical Music to Empower Children

Jordanian Soprano Zeina Barhoum Launches An Eye on Music and Education Programme

As part of the activities of the Amman Opera Festival (AOF) in 2018, Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum launched an educational programme titled 'An Eye on Music and Education',which introduced a workshop in Jordan that ran over the course of three days from Saturday, April 28, till Monday, April 30 at King's Academy and Repton New English School (RNES). The workshop focused on spreading cultural literacy through opera and classical music.

In the first two days of the workshop, the three coaches, Barhoum, Paolo Petrocelli, AOF's Ambassador and Lorenzo Tazzieri, AOF's Artistic Director,walked the students through the history of Opera and classical music as well as learning the ABCs of being on stage/singing and planning ahead in order to prepare them for a performance that showcased the culmination of efforts. Attended by the students' parents, the performance took place on the third day at the King's Academy in Jordan, where the students received certificates of participation signed by the three coaches and the Amman Opera Festival (AOF).

The performance was introduced by Barhoum's 1st symphony movement 4 by King's Academy Orchestra followed by the two beautifully talented RNES young soloists Tenor Abdul Hakim Hawi performing "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto and Soprano Joumana Al Nobani performing "Oh Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi, and later RNES choir with the famous arietta "Caro mio ben" (a standalone song) by Giordani that they learnt for the workshop, all accompanied on piano by their music teacher Maria Milovanovic finishing off with the talk on music and its impact on a given culture and its history by Paolo Petrocelli.

Commenting on the workshop, Barhoum said,"Special thanks to King's Academy for hosting the workshop on the school premises and to Repton New English School. AOF is proud to be featuring students who participated in the Workshop in the festivals second edition of 2018 with an opening concert and the Opera La Boheme's children's choir. I hope this is just the beginning to a growing and prospering initiative that would expand further to other schools as well."

AOF will also be holding a symposium featuring lecturers and inspirational speakers from the local community and abroad. The Amman Opera Festival Symposium focuses on why it is important to develop vocational opportunities in music and its positive effects on societal behavior and the future of a culture, as well as the importance of introducing cultural literacy on a national level. The symposium will also announce the results from the various workshops carried out in 2017 and that will be carried out in 2018 with schools in Jordan and abroad. The culmination of efforts will act as an eye opener and an inspirational way forward perhaps towards tangible opportunities on entrepreneurial and educational levels. The aspiration for the official launch of this programme in 2018 is to grant a student a scholarship to study abroad.

In July 2017, Zeina launched the Amman Opera Festival (AOF), the first opera festival in the Arab world, to plant the seeds towards growing the opera culture in Jordan and the Arab world, and perhaps inspire the building of a purpose-built Opera House in Jordan's Capital, Amman, joining the company of other Arab states such as Oman and the UAE. The 1st AOF featured La Traviata performances, held at the Roman Amphitheater. Barhoum is preparing to present performances of Opera La Boheme during the 2nd AOF that is set to take place early fall 2018. More concerts and events are planned for the 2nd edition, details of which will be revealed at a later date.

Zeina Barhoum is a classically trained Soprano and founder of The Alcántara music and art series. Zeina has performed at benefits countless times for the benefit of women, children, peace and prosperity. Among her many invitations to perform, Barhoum was invited to perform at Kensington Palace in celebration of Women achievers, and for bridging cultures through the Arab International Women's Forum.

Her album Alcántara refers to the Roman stone arch bridge built in Extremadura, Spain. The title of the song reflects Zeina's dedication to building strong connections of understanding and compassion through her music. Her second song, Alcantara II was recently recorded live and launched at a concert accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lviv and Choir lead by Conductor Lorenzo Tazzieri. Zeina obtained a BSC in Visual Communication at the American University of Sharjah.