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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Jordan braces for production of La Bohème as highlight of 2nd Amman Opera Festival

Launched in July 2017, the Amman Opera Festival is the first in the Arab region dedicated to the operatic art

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Nov 2017
La Traviata
La Traviata performed at the Amman Opera Festival 2017. (Photo: still from the YouTube footage)
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Following the success of its inaugural edition, the 2nd Amman Opera Festival will take place in early fall 2018 and will include Jordan's production of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème. The opera will feature 33-year-old Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum, who is also the founder of the Amman Opera Festival.

According to MAD Solutions, a company promoting Barhoum's activities, the soprano's motivation behind the festival is to plant seeds that would help the opera culture grow 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 organisers have not yet announced the complete programme of the festival's second edition, though they said that apart of La Bohème, it would include a larger number of concerts and artists.

La Bohème is based on Henri Murger's novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. 

Zeina Barhoum is a classically trained Jordanian soprano and founder of The Alcántara music and art series. 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.

The Amman Opera Festival is the first opera festival in the Arab world. The first edition took place between 19 and 22 July 2017 at the 2nd century Roman theatre, a famous Jordanian landmark accommodating 6,000 audience members, and featured Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata.

Held under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Muna Al-Hussein, La Traviata brought together many renowned international artists, including soprano Zeina Barhoum, Spanish tenor Andrés Veramendi, Slovakian baritone Šimon Svitok, Jordanian tenor Ady Naber, as well as the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra (China), featuring musicians from Italy's La Scala, and a choir from Georgia's Batumi Opera House. The opera was conducted by Italian maestro Lorenzo Tazzieri.

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