Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

There will be a Palestinian night at the opera in Dubai this weekend

The performance will feature Palestinian Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum, and will be in two parts

Banat Al-Quds, a 25 all-girls singing troupe from Palestine, will perform at the Dubai Opera for the first time this week. Courtesy of Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
Banat Al-Quds, a 25 all-girls singing troupe from Palestine, will perform at the Dubai Opera for the first time this week. Courtesy of Edward Said National Conservatory of Music

“When we first started with the orchestra, people cried in the audience,” says Suheil Khoury, the Palestinian composer and musician, of the Edward Said National Conservatory Orchestra.

Almost 15 years after it was first established, the orchestra will perform at Dubai Opera this Saturday, April 20. It will come together for the first time with Palestinian Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum and the all-girls ensemble called Banat Al-Quds for one performance only.

Jordanian Palestinian soprano Zeina Barhoum. Courtesy of the artist
Jordanian Palestinian soprano Zeina Barhoum. Courtesy of the artist

The show will be made up of two parts: the first will focus on classical music, with the orchestra of 60 musicians all from Palestine performing with opera singer Zeina Barhoum. Expect popular pieces from the operas Gianni Schicchi and Madame Butterfly. She will also sing popular songs such as O Sole Mio.

This isn’t Barhoum’s first time at Dubai Opera: the classically trained soprano kicked off her musical career in 1997 and performed at the Dubai Opera’s studio in December last year.

Barhoum described the show as a Palestinian festival in one concert. “It feels good to be back and to be performing with these two lovely groups.”

The second part of the performance will feature Banat Al-Quds, the 25-strong, female singing troupe who will play and sing traditional Palestinian songs that speak of the tough circumstances under which they live. “The girls are so excited, if I can say that on their behalf,” Khoury, who is also the conductor of Banat Al-Quds, said. “They are also excited because it’s the Dubai Opera.”

They will join Barhoum and the Orchestra for a couple of Arabic songs, including the famous Zahrat Al Mada’en.

Banat Al-Quds. Courtesy of Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
Banat Al-Quds. Courtesy of Edward Said National Conservatory of Music

Banat Al-Quds are all students at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, also founded by Khoury. According to Khoury, the work that is being done with Palestinian youth on the ground when it comes to music development is actively changing the cultural scene in Palestine.

“This is a source of pride for many Palestinians, and so there is this feeling of satisfaction and achievement,” he said.

The Edward Said National Conservatory Orchestra, Zeina Barhoum and Banat Al-Quds perform on Saturday, April 20 at the Dubai Opera. For tickets, visit www.dubaiopera.com

Updated: April 18, 2019 06:00 PM

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