Lebanon’s Al Bustan Fest to Embrace World Arts
Among the big events of this year’s al Bustan International Festival of Music and the Arts is French actor Jean Piat’s theater piece Cyrano d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, according to The Daily Star.
Last year al Bustan staged an Anglo-American production of Romeo and Juliet that went on to the West End. This year it’s the turn of the French, as actor Jean Piat returns to the festal stage with his Cyrano d’hier et d’aujourd’hui which will also premier in France at a later date.
Then there is the ballet, the Prague National Theater Ballet to be precise, which will be dancing Prokofiev’s Cinderella for three nights in late February.
The stage will be graced by two very different quartets. The Leipzig String Quartet will perform a “straight” 19th century program. An evening of Victor Borges-style chamber music comedy will be given by Le Quatuor’s Il Pleut des Cordes (It’s raining strings.)
The event, which includes over 32 performances and running over the month from Feb 19 - March 24, would be incomplete without its intimate evenings and there is a wealth of chamber music, duo and solo, at this year’s festival.
The festival is rich in orchestral offerings this year. Appropriately enough, given the Prague theme, the festival will open with a pair of concerts by the Prague Chamber Orchestra both featuring Mozart symphonies and orchestral pieces by such masters of the Czech canon as Matinu, Benda and Dvorak.
The Czechs will also lower the curtain on this year’s festival, with the Prague Symphony Orchestra performing a pair of concerts. At the center of the penultimate show is Mozart’s 23rd Concerto, featuring pianist Alexandros Kapelis. The PSO and cellist Li Wei Qin will close the festival with Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.
In addition to these evenings at the symphony, al Bustan will also see the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra join forces with the Prague Chamber Choir and five opera soloists to perform Rossini’s Stabat Mater. For those preferring Rossini on a smaller scale, the opera soloists will reprise some of the “highlights” of the Stabet Mater the next night to piano accompaniment.
Arabic music won’t be absent from al Bustan’s orchestral palette either, as the Lebanese National Arabic Oriental Orchestra and The Lebanese Percussion Group will come together for an evening of traditional music.
Another highlight of this year’s festival program will be three nights of Mozart’s Don Giovanni by the Warsaw Chamber Opera. Soloists will also perform a selection of Mozart’s secular and sacred works at the Church of Mar Sassine.
Other vocal highlights are the King’s Singers performing by themselves and again with Lebanese soprano Fadia al Hage and soprano June Anderson, singing for one night only with pianist Jeff Cohen.
Another highly entertaining evening is promised by a retrospective on the work of English composer Sir William Walton, performed by the English Serenata and featuring baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and the narration of Lady Walton, the late composer’s wife – Albawaba.com