Baalbek Music Festival reduced to a single concert
August 13, 2020
Middle East

Baalbek Music Festival at Baalbek’s ancient ruins reduced to a single concert

BAALBEK (LEBANON) – The grand Baalbek Music Festival, usually held amid 3,000-year-old Roman ruins in Lebanon, was reduced to a single concert this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, for maestro Harout Fazlian, it was one of the most special events of his career.

Staged in the ancient temple of Bacchus, Fazlian conducted the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra and three choirs during the concert that lasted for an hour. He incorporated works by the Lebanese composer brothers Assi and Mansour Rahbani, Verdi and Beethoven.

Though there were no crowds due to coronavirus restrictions, the performance was captured by 14 cameras and drones, and was broadcast live on almost all the main Lebanese TV stations as well as streamed online.

Fazlian, who came up with the idea during Lebanon’s coronavirus lockdown two months ago, said, “Every person will have a front row seat. This beautiful temple has gone through so much for 3,000 years, but it has survived, and we will survive.”

Fazlian said he wanted to send across “a message of hope and solidarity” as Lebanon went down deep into the worst financial breakdown of its history, worsened by the global coronavirus pandemic.

His recital was the only concert of the Baalbek music festival this year, Lebanon’s oldest, which since the year 1956 helped make the country a cultural hub.

Nayla De Freij, head of the Baalbek festival committee, said all the artists and technicians have worked on Sunday’s massive project for free.

She said, “It’s like a big scream that we want life to go on.”

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.

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