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Amman’s Roman Theatre to host ‘first opera festival in Arab world’

AMMAN — “’La Traviata’ is a work of heart that will touch everybody’s soul,” Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum said at a press conference on Thursday.
Held under the patronage of HRH Princess Muna, the performance will include over 150 musicians and dancers from over 10 countries. 
“Zeina Barhoum has helped to put Jordan on the map with all her hard work that she does both here and around the world… I consider her a great ambassador of music for Jordan,” HRH Princess Muna was quoted in a statement from the organisers as saying.
Unveiling plans for what the organisers dubbed the “first-ever opera festival in the Arab world”, the singer voiced her enthusiasm to see her country host Giuseppe Verdi’s renowned opera “La Traviata”.
“This is a dream becoming reality,” Barhoum said, noting that “this is an occasion to reinforce the Jordanian artistic scene and to offer more opportunities for the new generations to support art”.
“This is an exceptional event, unprecedented,” Minister of Tourism Lina Annab noted, adding that “it will definitely help promote Jordan as a venue for more cultural events, not only in the field of opera.”
By promoting the opera scene, she added, the Kingdom is “reviving the archaeological aspect of our capital, which is perfectly represented by the venue chosen for the event, the Roman Theatre.”
The performance is scheduled to take place on July 19 and 22, in the Roman Theatre in downtown Amman at 8:30pm. 
“We have people coming from all over the region for this event. People from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait have already booked their tickets to attend the event,” former Amman mayor Akel Beltaji said.
The main singers will be accompanied by the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring musicians from La Scala and local musicians, as well as the Batumi Opera House Choir, led by Conductor Lorenzo Tazzieri and directed by Luigi Orfeo. 
“The diversity of the artists participating in the event is a perfect representation of the way art can serve as a source of cultural exchange,” Annab said.
She expressed her ministry’s keenness to promote a “bright” image of Jordan as a “centre of civilisation and culture”, and called for all those interested in the arts to come together to help promote Jordan’s “attractive” events. 
“Nowadays, we are witnessing a new generation of talents involved in this type of events,” Annab said, noting that “Barhoum is a perfect example of the ways our youth is promoting Jordan across the globe.”
The 33-year-old opera singer, who has performed in Italy, Dubai and Lebanon among others, commended Jordan’s efforts in bringing more opportunities to new generations in the field of art.
“Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with people from around the globe. Through my music and art, I have realised the importance of cross-cultural connections, and I have seen first-hand how music provides an important bridge that unites cultures from all over the world. With music, we speak one language; a language we can all understand without interpreters,” she said.
When asked about the future of opera in Jordan, Annab said plans to build an opera house in Amman were under way, and voiced her hope to see more.
“I hope this production will trigger more cultural events of this kind in the future,” she said, encouraging the audience to keep “all genres of music alive”, not only traditional and local ones. 
Amman Opera Festival is supported by Greater Amman Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Tourism Board, the embassies of the People’s Republic of China, Italy and Georgia and Royal Jordanian Airlines, according to organisers.
 
Jordan Times
July 13, 2017