Under the patronage of HRH princess Muna Al Hussien, the Amman Opera Festival (AOF), first ever opera festival in the Arab world, has announced an exciting programme for its 2nd edition that will include a performance of the Opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. On August 28, a press conference will be held at 11:00 AM at the Amman Marriott Hotel.
Held at the 2000-year old Roman Amphitheatre in Downtown Amman, La Bohéme will be performed on September 4 and 6. Gates open at 7:00 PM and the show begins at 8:00 PM. Part of the proceeds will go to a scholarship and the benefit of underprivileged children.
Zeina Barhoum as Mimi and Bassem Al Khoury as Rodolfo, the Opera La Bohème's leading roles, accompanied by principal singers from Georgia and Italy. They will be accompanied by The Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of the festival's artistic director and conductor, Lorenzo Tazzieri, choir singers from Jordan including Jordan's children's choir Nai conducted by Diana Talhami. The Opera will be directed by Deyan Proshev from Macedonia.
Doors open at 6:00 PM in the Piazza, which will be closed off for the Festival, in front of the theatre to enjoy a pizza, gelato, a cup of coffee or and a knafeh! To best enjoy your experience in comfort, we strongly advise that you bring your cushions!
AOF will also feature a symposium later this year featuring lecturers and inspirational speakers from the local community and abroad. The Amman Opera Festival Symposium focuses on why it is important to develop vocational opportunities in music and its positive effects on societal behavior and the future of a culture, as well as the importance of introducing cultural literacy on a national level. The symposium will announce the results from the various workshops carried out in 2017 and that will be carried out in 2018 with schools in Jordan and abroad. The culmination of efforts will act as an eye opener and an inspirational way forward perhaps towards tangible opportunities on entrepreneurial and educational levels. The aspiration for the official launch of this programme in 2018 is to grant a student a scholarship to study abroad.
The first edition of the festival featured a full operatic production of Verdi's La Traviata held at the Roman Amphitheater in Amman, Jordan. Alongside over 150 international musicians and dancers from more than 10 countries, the show starred Zeina Barhoum as Violetta, Andres Versamendi as Alfredo, Simon Svitokas Germont and Ady Naber as Gastone, accompanied by the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring musicians from La Scala and local talent and musicians, the Batumi Opera House Choir led by Conductor Lorenzo Tazzieri and directed by Luigi Orfeo. The first performance witnessed the attendance of HRH Princess Muna Al Hussein, who is the Royal Patron of the festival in cooperation with the Embassy of The People's Republic of China, Embassy of France, Embassy of Italy, Embassy of Ukraine and Embassy of Georgia along with public figures and artists from Jordan.
Zeina Barhoum's motivation behind this initiative is to plant the seeds towards growing the opera culture 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.