More than 400 enthusiastic music lovers warmly applauded celebrated Palestinian composer Patrick Lama and a French classical music ensemble as they took to the stage at the Orthodox Club in Amman on Sunday.
Jordan Times said that the one-hour operetta, composed by Lama, is based on famous poems by Mahmoud Darwish entitled Sarir Al Ghariba (the bed for the stranger).
Five musicians on cello, violin viola and contrabass were conducted by Frederick Ligiez, and the program opened with well-known sopranos: Daria Dadvaz of Spain and Gayle Docket from France.
“I have selected five pieces from the works of Darwish to emphasize that our culture is a source of inspiration for several creative works,” Lama, who spent five months preparing this opus, told the daily.
After two successful performances in Ramallah and Nazareth, Lama said he was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic audiences in Palestine.
“We managed to break the blockade, imposed by Israeli soldiers around Ramallah, and performed our recital for a huge audience,” said the composer who currently lives in Paris.
This was not Lama’s first operetta based on Darwish's poetry. “Two years ago I presented the operetta, The Doves Flew Away, which was also based on a popular Darwish poem and performed by a famous Italian soprano,” said Lama.
However, he admitted that it was a challenge for him to blend European classical music with Arabic poetry.
Although the composer spent most of his life away from his homeland, his Palestinian Arab roots remain strong. That attachment is most apparent in the production he is currently preparing: His first full-scale opera in three parts, with symphonic music and lyrics in Arabic.
Opera Canaan was to be staged at the opening of a Palestinian cultural project in Bethlehem, Solomon's Pools, to mark the opera's first presentation in an Arab city.
Solomon's Pools consist of three huge pools, each more than 100 meters long and 10 meters deep, in a steep and wooded valley below Bethlehem. They date back to the time of Christ, and used to provide water for Jerusalem, through tunnels and aqueducts.
Lama told The Jordan Times he had always “dreamt of composing an Arabic opera with Arabic lyrics related to our culture and civilization.”
He said the discovery of a Canaanite tablet at Ugarit, in southern Syria, inscribed with Canaan's myths and history, was the “first step to achieve my dream.”
“The opportunity came when Jihad Shareef, director of the project, invited me to present this opera in Bethlehem,” said the composer.
Unfortunately, “the opening ceremony has been postponed because of the Intifada,” said Shareef, who was present at Sunday's performance.
“It is a shame not to be able to stage the first Arabic opera in an Arab city,” said Shareef, adding, “for a Palestinian project, we wanted to have a very special Arabic work.” – Albawaba.com
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