Former French first lady enthralls at Beirut’s Beiteddine festival

Carla Bruni performs at the Beiteddine International Art Festival on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2018

Former French first lady enthralls at Beirut’s Beiteddine festival

  • Singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's performance was one of the most anticipated at this year’s festival
  • Among the French singer's audience were Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and former French PM Sarkozy

JEDDAH: Singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former French first lady, wowed the Beiteddine Art Festival near Beirut, Lebanon, in a concert on Monday.

Carla performed songs from her fifth album, “French Touch,” to a crowd including  Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, former Lebanese president Michel Suleiman and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is her husband.

On Tuesday, the singer-songwriter posted on Instagram alongside a photo from the concert: “Thank you beautiful Beirut for your warm welcome.” Earlier, with an image of the Beirut sky, she wrote: “Beirut, my heart burns for you already.”

Another image she captioned with: “Looking forward to playing for you tomorrow @beiteddinefestival and so happy to finally discover the beautiful city of Beirut.”

Dressed in black pants and a sequined jacket initially and then a blue jacket, Bruni was seen belting out one number after another in videos posted by her and the festival’s official account on Instagram. She also performed on the piano and guitar.

The French singer’s performance was one of the most anticipated at this year’s festival, which is held every summer at the Beiteddine Palace in Lebanon’s Chouf Mountains, south of the capital Beirut. The 200-year-old Beiteddine Palace is a marvel of Lebanese architecture, with its many courtyards, monumental gates, elegant arcades and levelled galleries. 

The former French president and his wife landed in Beirut on Sunday. They were greeted at the Beirut airport by Beiteddine Art Festival president Noura Jumblatt and the French ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher.

Sources said Sarkozy met with a number of Lebanese officials, including Suleiman and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt at his Mukhtara residence.

Since her first album, “Quelqu’un m’a dit,” in 2002, Bruni has sold five million albums and toured the world, including New York, Rio, London and Moscow, singing classic rock, country and jazz standards in English from her fifth album.

The former supermodel married Sarkozy in 2008. The marriage is her first and Sarkozy’s third. In 2010, Forbes magazine ranked Bruni-Sarkozy as the 35th most powerful woman in the world.

The 33rd annual Beiteddine Art Festival, one of the leading ones in the Middle East, began last month, showcasing a series of performers and aiming to draw spectators from around the country and beyond. The festival was launched in the summer of 1985.

This year’s performances include German singer Ute Lemper, Arab composer and singer Kadim Al-Sahir and Montreal-based troupe Cirque Eloize. Shows will continue until August 11.

Aladdin’s Naomi Scott walks the (magic) carpet in Los Angeles

Scott walked the orange carpet at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. AFP
Updated 51 min 6 sec ago

Aladdin’s Naomi Scott walks the (magic) carpet in Los Angeles

DUBAI: British-Indian “Aladdin” actress Naomi Scott strutted down the orange carpet at the Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night, while Lebanese teenage singing sensation Lynn Al-Hayek was voted the “Favorite Arab Music Artist” by her fans.

This year’s kid-friendly show was hosted by US-Palestinian producer and social media star DJ Khaled and saw the stars of the upcoming live-action version of Disney’s “Aladdin” — Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott — hit the orange carpet before they floated down onto the stage on a platform made to look like Aladdin’s magic carpet.  

Before taking to the stage, Scott walked the carpet in a soda-orange, feathered coat with a silvery, metallic sweatshirt underneath. She finished off the fun look with black drainpipe trousers and shiny boots.

The annual award show is famous for dousing celebrity attendees with green slime, much to the delight of the children in the audience. This year, Hollywood’s Chris Pratt, Josh Peck and Adam Sandler were soaked from head to toe and the show culminated with DJ Khaled blanketing both himself and the crowd in green goo.

There was no shortage of star power at the event, with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monáe, Bebe Rexha and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh spotted in the audience.

Two Arab stars even made it into the list of winners — teenage singer Lynn Al-Hayek, who won The Voice Kids in 2016, and internet blogger Noor Stars took home awards for Favorite Arab Music Artist and Favorite Arab Internet Star respectively.

Hip-hop trio Migos performed their hits “Walk It Talk It” and “Stir Fry,” along with rising single “Pure Water,” accompanied by DJ Durel before adrenaline-packed teenage YouTube star JoJo Siwa forced DJ Khaled to don one of her signature hair bows after he lost a dance battle.