Bahrain National Theatre starts as it means to go on with crowd pleasing Ibn Battuta performance
Abdelrahman Abou-Zahra Wroclaw as Ibn Battuta Senior / Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Hisham Gabr, dress rehearsal (Photos by Ati Metwaly)
Click here to add Abdelrahman Abou-Zahra as an alert
Disable alert for Abdelrahman Abou-Zahra,
Click here to add Ahmed Abouzahra as an alert
Disable alert for Ahmed Abouzahra,
Click here to add Ahmed Ezz as an alert
Disable alert for Ahmed Ezz,
Click here to add Al Sahir as an alert
Disable alert for Al Sahir,
Click here to add Albina Belova as an alert
Disable alert for Albina Belova,
Click here to add Amal Maher as an alert
Disable alert for Amal Maher,
Click here to add Arab League as an alert
Disable alert for Arab League,
Click here to add Arabesque International as an alert
Disable alert for Arabesque International,
Click here to add Bahraini Ministry of Culture as an alert
Disable alert for Bahraini Ministry of Culture,
Click here to add Bojan Ugrinovski as an alert
Disable alert for Bojan Ugrinovski,
Click here to add Csaba Kael as an alert
Disable alert for Csaba Kael,
Click here to add East West Art Promotion as an alert
Disable alert for East West Art Promotion,
Click here to add Enana Dance Theatre as an alert
Disable alert for Enana Dance Theatre,
Click here to add Hisham Gabr as an alert
Disable alert for Hisham Gabr,
Click here to add Ibn Battuta as an alert
Disable alert for Ibn Battuta,
Click here to add Jan Nast as an alert
Disable alert for Jan Nast,
Click here to add Mahler Chamber Orchestra as an alert
Disable alert for Mahler Chamber Orchestra,
Click here to add Manama as an alert
Disable alert for Manama,
Click here to add Nader Salaheldin as an alert
Disable alert for Nader Salaheldin,
Click here to add National Centre for the Performing Arts in Budapest as an alert
Disable alert for National Centre for the Pe ...,
Click here to add Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa as an alert
Disable alert for Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed ...,
Click here to add Staatskapelle Dresden as an alert
Disable alert for Staatskapelle Dresden,
Click here to add Tangiers as an alert
Disable alert for Tangiers,
Click here to add Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra as an alert
Disable alert for Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra,
Click here to add Yanni as an alert
Disable alert for Yanni,
Click here to add Yehia el-Gamal as an alert
Disable alert for Yehia el-Gamal
Celebrating Manama being chosen as Capital of Arab Tourism 2013, the Bahraini Ministry of Culture holds several events showcasing Arab culture. So far, the festivities included a musical performance Ibn Battuta, Prince of Arab Travelers. The two-time performance was staged at the newly-opened Bahrain National Theatre in Manama.
Born on 24 February, 1304 AD Abu Abdullah Mohamed Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta, also known as Ibn Battuta has traveled across the world, from the city of Tangiers in his homeland Morocco, through North Africa, where he passed by Egypt, to the Middle East, Iraq and Levant countries, then to the Gulf region: Oman, Bahrain and further towards Turkistan and far Asia: India, China, Java. His travels also included several countries in central Africa. Understandably, the choice of Ibn Battuta as symbol of Arab tourism is strongly related to the concept of his extensive travels.
While travelling, Ibn Battuta developed relations and friendships with many kings and princes who gave him gifts and support to pursue his travels. He documented all his experience in his famous manuscript, A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonder of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling.
The performance staged in Manama on 25 and 26 February, concentrated on presenting a few important stops of Ibn Battuta's travels, and cultural riches that characterize the regions he visited: Morocco, Egypt, Levant and Bahrain as one of the pillars of his voyages across Gulf region.
The performance was a large production and relied on the artistic force of two hundred international artists. Artistic producer Ahmed Abouzahra, General Manager of East West Art Promotion and Arabesque International, brought Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra from Poland, Enana Dance Theatre from Syria and a large number of artists from Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Hungary, France, and Russia etc to offer their expertise to serve the show.
Hisham Gabr (Egypt) composed the music and conducted the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, which was joined by a group of Oriental musicians and choir from Egypt. Gabr has created grand music, characteristic to each region depicted in consecutive scenes by merging Occidental harmonies with Oriental modes.
Nader Salaheldin (Egypt) directed the show and provided the script. Dina Nadeem (Egypt) designed costumes, which captured the essence of each regions’ traditional clothing, while giving them an elegant modern touch.
Albina Belova and Jehad Mufleh, General Manager of Enana Dance Theatre, choreographed for the dance troupe.
Csaba Kael, General Manager of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Budapest (Hungary) supervised the creative vision, providing his team with video projections; Éva Szendrényi (Hungary) took care of the scenography; specialists from France were responsible for the lighting design; Bojan Ugrinovski from Macedonia was behind the sound engineering.
A number of well-known singers and actors also performed: renowned Egyptian actor Abdelrahman Abou-Zahra (Egypt) was in the leading role of Ibn Battuta Senior. His everlasting charisma and presence reminded us of the greatest masters of the Egyptian theatre.
Ahmed Ezz sung the role of Ibn Battuta Junior while three stars of the Arabic music embellished chosen scenes: Amal Maher (Egypt) sung in Egypt's scene, Ghada Chbeir (Lebanon) in the Levant scene, Hind (Bahrain) in the final Gulf scene where additional regional dialects were expressed by Bahraini traditional music troupe. The wonderful timbre of Ghada Chbeir and her remarkable performance garnered the audience’s strong applause.
The Ibn Battuta performance was attended by Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Culture Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and a large number of important officials from the Arab World. Also among the audience were Nabil Elaraby, an Egyptian diplomat and currently the Secretary-General of the Arab League; Yehia El-Gamal, an Egyptian lawyer and politician and Salah Fadl, Egyptian literary critic. They especially pointed out the music composed by Hisham Gabr and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as costumes designed by Dina Nadeem as stars of the show.
Equally, Jan Nast, the Managing Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious orchestras, who attended the second performance, underscored the success of the music in the whole performance.
Overlooking the sea, Bahrain National Theatre, which opened in November 2012 is a new gem on the Arab cultural arena, valued at $50 million (Dh183.60 million).
Designed to resemble a boat, the theatre includes a large hall with walls and balconies covered in wood and a 1001-seat auditorium, a number to reflect on the One Thousand and One Nights. On the other hand, the stage and audience in a small hall that can accommodate around 300 people can rotate according to the needs of the performance. With white, shell-like staircases and wooden interior, the building is a combination of modernity and the most captivating elements from Arabian tales.
Although there is still some construction being finalised, the theatre building is already serving as home to a number of concerts and performances. The upcoming performances staged at the Bahrain National Theatre will include Il Divo's unique operatic voice arrangements, Jahida Wehbe from Lebanon, Chares Aznavour, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Revolución from Cuba, Yanni, Kadim Al Sahir, along with other musicians, topped with art exhibitions, lectures and poetry readings.
By Ati Metwaly
- Bahraini Orchestra presents ‘Salute to Palestine’
- ithmaar group yalla bahrain! starts painting the nation abbas al mosawi leads national art project to celebrate bahrain and formula one
- Bahraini International Music Festival opens
- Haifaa Al Mansour's Wadjda: State-of-the-art film or pro-Saudi propaganda?
- Egyptian ‘Tanoura’ dance captivates shoppers at Arabian Centre