Classical music was accompanied by the sound of waves lapping on the Jeddah’s seashore as the Cologne Academy Orchestra performed a sell-out show at Nawras Beach on the New Corniche.
The 33 musicians tuned their instruments as the audience arrived to fill in open-air venue, then conductor Michael Willens introduced the German orchestra and welcomed the crowd to a concert he dubbed “Jeddah by the sea.”
The evening’s musical selections included compositions by a trio of legendary German composers Ludwig Van Beethoven, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. First though, Willens asked the audience to rise from their seats as the band played the Saudi national anthem, which received a rousing round of applause after it ended.
The night’s music included Beethoven’s “A Perfido,” an aria written from a woman’s point of view about betrayal and agony. It was was sung by the soprano Johanna Winkel, whose powerful voice took the crowd by surprise as she performed the piece perfectly.
Other pieces performed included Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, which was written by the composer as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869, and Serenade No1 by Brahms.
The musicians did a marvelous job of keeping the audience entertained and for their efforts received a standing ovation at the end of the show. Such was the reception that the orchestra remained to perform an encore.
“I didn’t expect this many people to attend — it was sold out,” said Hammam Kadi managing director of Saudi Jory, one of the businesses that organized the concert. “I was very pleasantly surprised.
“You can expect more events in the future because today we found out that a lot of people loved it.”
Audience member Gaida, 23 said: “This is the first time I have been to an orchestral concert and, honestly, I think I will be a fan now.”
Mosab, another attendee, said: “Out of all the events that have been happening in Jeddah, this one is my favorite. I have been to other orchestra performances in London but this one is my favorite."
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