In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

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Musicians from the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra perform during a concert in the ancient northeastern city of Baalbek, Lebanon, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (AP)
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Musicians from the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra perform during a concert in the ancient northeastern city of Baalbek, Lebanon, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (AP)
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Maestro Harout Fazlian conducts rehearsals ahead of the Sound of Resilience concert inside the Temple of Bacchus at the historic site of Baalbek in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, on July 4, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 05 July 2020

In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

  • The Baalbek International Festival was streamed live on television and social media
  • The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem

BEIRUT: A philharmonic orchestra performed to spectator-free Roman ruins in east Lebanon Sunday, after a top summer festival downsized to a single concert in a year of economic meltdown and pandemic.
The Baalbek International Festival was instead streamed live on television and social media, in what its director called a message of “hope and resilience” amid ever-worsening daily woes.
The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem, followed by Carmina Burana’s “O Fortuna,” a 13th century poem set to music.

The program, which ran for just over an hour, included a mix of classical music and rock and folk tunes by composers ranging from Beethoven to Lebanon’s Rahbani brothers.
Held in the open air and conducted by Harout Fazlian, the 150 musicians and chorists were scattered inside the illuminated Temple of Bacchus, as drones filmed them among the enormous ruins and Greco-Roman temples of Baalbek.
Festival director Nayla de Freige told AFP most artists performed for free at the designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The concert aimed to represent “a way of saying that Lebanon does not want to die. We have an extremely productive and creative art and culture sector,” she said.
“We want to send a message of civilization, hope and resilience.”
Baalbek itself became a militia stronghold during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, but conservation and tourism have revived the ruins over the past three decades.
Lebanon is known for its summer music festivals, which have in past years drawn large crowds every night and attracted performers like Shakira, Sting and Andrea Bocelli.
Other festivals have not yet announced their plans for this year.
Lebanon has recorded just 1,873 cases of COVID-19, including 36 deaths.
But measures to stem the spread of the virus have exacerbated the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Since economic woes in the autumn sparked mass protests against a political class deemed irretrievably corrupt, tens of thousands have lost their jobs or part of their income, and prices have skyrocketed.
Banks have prevented depositors from withdrawing their dollar savings, while the local currency has lost more than 80 percent of its value to the greenback on the black market.

 


Arabs in Paris showroom to highlight Mideast talent at fashion week

Updated 27 September 2020

Arabs in Paris showroom to highlight Mideast talent at fashion week

DUBAI: Paris Fashion Week is set to look a lot different this season. Kicking off on Sept. 28, only a handful of designers are staging physical shows while the rest are opting for digital presentations. Meanwhile, some designers, including Arab couturier Zuhair Murad, are opting out of showing collections this season entirely.

To ensure that Arab design talent gets the recognition they deserve this Fashion Week, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has teamed up with the Arab Fashion Council to host an exclusive showroom and presentation on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar that shines a light on Middle Eastern designers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today the Arab Fashion Council (AFC) has announced a new exciting project which aims to connect the Arab talents with the French fashion industry. The new initiative, titled “Arabs in Paris”, is a collaboration between the Arab Fashion Council (AFC) and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) @fhcm aiming to enable the Arab designers to showcase their creativity officially in Paris Fashion Week’s calendar for spring/summer 2021. @parisfashionweek #ArabsInParis Aujourd'hui, l'Arab Fashion Council (AFC) a annoncé un nouveau projet passionnant qui vise à connecter les talents arabes à l'industrie française de la mode. La nouvelle initiative, intitulée “Arabs in Paris”, est une collaboration entre le Conseil arabe de la mode (AFC) et la Fédération de la haute couture et de la mode (FHCM) visant à permettre aux créateurs arabes de montrer officiellement leur créativité dans le calendrier de la mode de Paris pour la semaine. printemps / été 2021.

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The goal of the initiative, titled “Arabs in Paris,” is to not only spotlight the fashion talent from the region on a global scale, but to also connect designers with international media and buyers.

Participating designers include Lebanese design duo Azzi & Osta, Beirut-based footwear brand Pose Design, Esmod graduate Aboud Jammal, Lebanese womenswear label Ecaille, New York- based handmade jewelry brand Saad Collection, Jordanian ready-to-wear label Mada’En and Emergency Room Beirut, a clothing store based in Lebanon’s capital.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“The project is in line with the Arab Fashion Council’s vision to build an Arab economy based on creativity and to promote the Arab talents on a global scale,” said Mohammed Aqra, chief strategy officer of The Arab Fashion Council in a statement. “This is the first strategic alliance project with our French counterparts.”

The showroom, which will open its doors from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, 2020, will highlight the designer’s Spring 2021 collections and will be situated in Paris’s Rue Saint-Honore, adjacent to luxury shops like Dior, Fendi, Celine and more.

“Arabs in Paris” follows in the footsteps of other initiatives launched recently aimed to provide a global platform for regional talents.

In August, a virtual pop-up supporting 16 established and emerging designers from the Middle East and North Africa titled “Eastwave” launched online and featured a curated selection of brands spanning from ready-to-wear, accessories and jewelry, such as Egyptian accessories label Alliel, Dubai-based womenswear label Mrs Keepa and Lebanese womenswear brand Jessica K.