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
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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.


What We Are Reading Today: Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Updated 23 May 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

  • The author also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character

Benjamin Franklin is the Founding Father of the US who rose up the social ladder, from a leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In bestselling author Walter Isaacson’s vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin seems to turn to us from history’s stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles, says a review published on goodreads.com.

By bringing Franklin to life, Isaacson shows how he helped to define both his own time and ours. 

He was, during his 84-year life, America’s best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical—though not most profound—political thinkers. 

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. 

The author also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the 21st century.