Jordanian Soprano Zeina Barhoum Reveals Details of the 2nd Amman Opera Festival Programme During a Press Conference
During a press conference held at the Amman Marriott Hotel, Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum revealed details of the 2nd Amman Opera Festival (AOF) programme that will take place on September 4 and 6, 2018.
The press conference opened with a speech by Zeina Barhoum, Founder of the Amman Opera Festival, who said, "It is my absolute honor and pleasure to welcome you to our press conference. Amman Opera Festival might have been born from my personal passion for this form of art, but most importantly, it is a culmination of phenomenal support, belief and dedication, to what the medium of Opera can offer Amman, Jordan, and as ambitious as this might sound, the Arab world."
Barhoum added, "When we launched our first edition last year, it was refreshing to see an audience from all walks of life, interact with our characters and performance of La Traviata. The sheer look on their faces was enough for us to counter any obstacles we face. And think of our opera production guests, hailing from the different corners of the world, being introduced to Jordan's people, their spirits, their hospitality and their generosity. What perfect way to introduce one to one's culture and be fully immersed in it? This year at the second edition of Amman Opera Festival, we are all looking forward to present our audiences with an unforgettable artistic experience."
Barhoum also discussed the An Eye on Music and Education programmethat was launched as part ofthe festival's activities last May. The programme aims to spread cultural literacy among children through opera and classical music. The students learned about 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 at the second edition of the festival.
In his speech, Architect Ibrahim Hashem, Executive Director of Engineering at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), said, "These days in Amman, we are celebrating the launch of a new sophisticated art form that speaks a universal language and bridges cultures. As opera festivals are perceived as a major addition to the city, we would like to show our support to the 2nd edition of the Amman Opera Festival, the first opera festival in the Arab world, where local and international artists will be performing."
During the press conference, Ehab Zetawi, Senior Grant Controller Specialist at the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF), the festival's cultural sponsor, referred to the foundation's role in supporting the festival for its cultural importance, which reflects the foundation's goals. Zetawi also stressed on the possibility of a future collaboration between the foundation and the festival within the scope of their shared efforts for bridging cultures. While Philip Papadopoulos, General Manager of the Amman Marriott Hotel, praised Zeina Barhoum's efforts in spreading the opera art form and emphasized on admiring her talent and that he will continue to support her initiative.
The 2nd AOF will feature a performance of the Opera La BohÃ¨me by Giacomo Puccini at the Roman Amphitheatre in Downtown Amman. Zeina Barhoum as Mimi and Max Jota as Rodolfo, the Opera La BohÃ¨me's leading roles, accompanied by principal singers from Georgia and Italy. They will be accompanied by The Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of the festival's artistic director and conductor, Lorenzo Tazzieri, choir singers from Jordan including Jordan's children's choir Nai conducted by Diana Talhami. The Opera will be directed by Deyan Proshev from Macedonia.
Gates open at 7:00 PM and the show begins at 8:00 PM. Part of the proceeds will go to WAY Taawon for Youth and Save the Children organization.
Doors open at 6:00 PM in the Piazza, which will be closed off for the Festival, in front of the theatre to enjoy a pizza, gelato, a cup of coffee or and a knafeh! To best enjoy your experience in comfort, we strongly advise that you bring your cushions!
The first edition of the festival was launched in 2017 featuring a full operatic production of Verdi's La Traviata held at the Roman Amphitheater in Downtown Amman. Alongside over 150 international musicians and dancers from more than 10 countries, the show starred Zeina Barhoum as Violetta, Andres Versamendi as Alfredo, Simon Svitok as Germont and Ady Naber as Gastone, accompanied by the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring musicians from La Scala and local talent and musicians, the Batumi Opera House Choir led by Conductor Lorenzo Tazzieri and directed by Luigi Orfeo.
Zeina Barhoum's motivation behind this initiative is 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.