Executive Magazine - - Executive Life - Words by Olga Habre

beited­dine Palace is magni cent in it­self. Put a tal­ented mu­si­cian, dancer or per­former within its walls and it’s sen­sory magic. A huge part of the charm of the Beited­dine Art Fes­ti­val is its un­equaled lo­ca­tion in the 1 th cen­tury palace, nes­tled in one of the green­est re­gions of our coun­try, where misty sun­sets usher in breezy nights. Yet another es­sen­tial el­e­ment is the fes­ti­val’s yearly se­lec­tion of unique tal­ents.

This sum­mer’s pro­gram has some­thing for ev­ery­one, with eight di er­ent shows over 12 nights be­tween uly 1 and Au­gust 12. Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Hala Chahine says that all the acts this year have a fu­sion of cul­tures and gen­res — save for Kadim Al Sahir, the fes­ti­val’s uno icial mas­cot, who is per­form­ing his clas­sics on two nights.

Chahine says va­ri­ety is key for large fes­ti­vals in Le­banon, ex­plain­ing that at Beited­dine they try to have at least one Le­banese act, one act from the Arab world, as well as world mu­sic, the­atri­cal per­for­mance, a bal­let, and some­times other medi­ums rep­re­sented. “Le­banon be­ing a very small coun­try, you can’t have a spe­cial­ized fes­ti­val. We try to bring the whole world to Le­banon, cul­tur­ally. For those who can­not travel, we keep them up to date with what’s hap­pen­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally ,” she says. The or­ga­niz­ers are also con­sciously try­ing to en­cour­age lo­cal tal­ent by in­creas­ing Le­banese par­tic­i­pa­tion in the per­for­mances, not just by fea­tur­ing Le­banese acts, but by hav­ing Le­banese tal­ent ac­com­pany tour­ing in­ter­na­tional artists.

The fes­ti­val’s open­ing night is an in­vi­ta­tion to dis­cover emerg­ing Pales­tinian crooner Omar Ka­mal. With his strong stage pres­ence and beau­ti­ful voice, the com­poser and jazz artist will per­form ren­di­tions of clas­sic Frank Si­na­tra and Dean Martin hits, but also in­cor­po­rate some lo­cal avor with songs by Arab leg­ends like Ab­del Halim Ha z, ac­com­pa­nied by his Big Band and the Le­banese Phil­har­monic Orches­tra.

rammy-award win­ning Span­ish mu­si­cian ordi Savall prom­ises to take lis­ten­ers on a jour­ney through time with his me­dieval, re­nais­sance and baroque pieces, per­form­ing mu­sic that his­tor­i­cal gure Ibn Bat­tuta would have heard on his trav­els to Africa, Ara­bia, and the Far East. The mu­sic is ac­com­pa­nied by Syr­ian diva Waed Bouhas­soun, with Le­banese ac­tor Badih Abou Chakra nar­rat­ing be­tween pieces.

One of the world’s great­est con­tem­po­rary bal­let com­pa­nies, Be­jart Bal­let Lau­sanne, is per­form­ing on two nights. Their new pro­duc­tion “Bal­let for Life” — an homage to founder Mau­rice Be­jart, who died in 200 , by his suc­ces­sor il Ro­man — is set to mu­sic by Mozart and rock band ueen, with cos­tumes cre­ated by er­sace.

On three nights Beited­dine is play­ing host to a new play by Metro Al Mad­ina, who pre­vi­ously had suc­cess with “HishikBishik” and “BarFarouk.” The lat­est satir­i­cal mu­si­cal, “Po­lit­i­calCir­cus,” is about an un­usual elec­tion cam­paign, and fea­tures 0 artists that are mostly Le­banese, save a few for­eign jug­glers. On other nights, med­ley-singing Pink Mar­tini will blend gen­res and gen­er­a­tions, while Tu­nisian singer song­writer Emel Mathlouthi — com­pared to Fayruz and de­scribed as the Bjork of Tu­nisia — o ers an eclec­tic syn­the­sis of sounds. The fes­ti­val closes with a con­cert by Le­banese dar­ling Magida el Roumi and her band, with her time­less reper­toire and re­cent in­cor­po­ra­tions of Por­tuguese Fado mu­sic.

The fes­ti­val’s an­nual pro­gram also in­cludes art ex­hi­bi­tions. This year, there’s a photo ex­hi­bi­tion ded­i­cated to Le­banese politi­cian Ka­mal um­blatt on what would have been his cen­ten­nial birth­day, and a show­case of his­tor­i­cal Le­banese cos­tumes.

4 4 1 2 5 3 1. Omar Ka­mal 2. Jordi Savall 3. Po­lit­i­cal Cir­cus 4. Magida el-Roumi 5. Be­jart Bal­let Lau­sanne

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