A Star-studded Night at the Opening Ceremony of the First Ever Opera Festival in the Arab World
The 2nd Amman Opera Festival Kicks Off in Jordan
Under the patronage of HRH Princess Muna Al Hussein, the opening night of the 2nd Amman Opera Festival (AOF) kicked off at the Roman Amphitheatre in Downtown Amman with a full operatic production of the opera La Bohéme starring Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum. The opening night was attended by many public figures, including: representatives from the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF), the festival's cultural sponsor; Aqel Biltaji, former Mayor of Amman; Eng. Omar Al Louzi, City Manager at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM); in addition to ambassadors of Lebanon, Panama, France and Italy. The event also witnessed the attendance of Kifah Fakhoury, former Director of the National Music Conservatory, Farouk Qasrawi, Personal Advisor of His Majesty King Abdullah II; in addition to Jordanian businessmen: Wasef Jabsheh and Mazen Dajani; as well as Fouad Bajjali, Chairman of National Express; Hashem Abu Samra, Executive Manager of AVIS Jordan; and Duke Mamdouh Bisharat.
The first ever opera festival in the Arab world presented a full operatic production of the opera La Bohéme. Starring Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum as Mimi and Max Jota as Rodolfo, the opera La Bohème's leading roles, the performance also featured principal singers from Georgia and Italy. They were accompanied by The Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of the festival's artistic director and conductor, Lorenzo Tazzieri, along with choir singers from Jordan, including Jordan's children's choir Nai conducted by Diana Talhami. The opera is directed by Deyan Proshev from Macedonia.
Gates opened at 7:00 PM and the show began at 8:00 PM. Part of the proceeds will go to WAY Taawon for Youth foundation and Save the Children organization.
Doors opened at 6:00 PM in the Piazza, which is closed off for the Festival, in front of the theatre, where guests enjoyed a pizza, gelato, a cup of coffee and a knafeh!
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 talents and musicians, and the Batumi Opera House Choir led by Conductor Lorenzo Tazzieri. The show was 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.