Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji to perform in Riyadh

Hiba Tawaji
Updated 22 November 2017
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Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji to perform in Riyadh

JEDDAH: Lebanese star Hiba Tawaji will be among the first female singers ever to perform in Saudi Arabia when she plays a women-only show at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on Dec. 6, according to an entertainment calendar issued by the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority.
Tawaji rose to international fame in 2015 when she reached the semifinals of France’s version of TV talent show “The Voice.”
But she was already establishing herself as a talent to watch before her stint on the show. Since 2007 she has worked extensively with the acclaimed Lebanese composer Oussama Rahbani, who produced her 2014 album “Ya Habibi” and with whom she has regularly collaborated, providing vocals for his compositions.
With a reported four-octave range, Tawaji performs in both French and Arabic, concentrating mainly on epic, classical-style tracks.
This year saw the release of her well-received self-titled fifth album, which featured the track “Helm” — the video for which has accumulated more than 1 million views on YouTube.
Aside from her pop music, Tawaji is also an actress, director, and musical theater star perhaps best known for her performance in Rahbani’s adaptation of “Don Quixote.”
Tawaji’s high-profile shows at Casion du Liban and Batroun International Festival drew rave reviews from local media, and Saudi fans will no doubt be eagerly anticipating a similar stellar performance in Riyadh next month.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.