The often grand Baalbek Music Festival, set among 3,000-year-old Roman ruins in Lebanon, was paid off to only a single concert this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For maestro Harout Fazlian, however, it had been one of the most special of his career.
On a stage in the ancient temple of Bacchus, Fazlian conducted the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra and three choirs in a hour-long concert that included works by the Lebanese composer brothers Assi and Mansour Rahbani, Verdi and Beethoven.
There were no crowds due to coronavirus restrictions, however the performance, captured by 14 cameras and drones, was broadcast survive almost all the key Lebanese TELEVISION stations as well as streamed on line.
Every person will have a front-row seat. This beautiful temple moved through so much for 3,000 years, nonetheless it has survived, and we will survive,
said Fazlian, who developed the idea throughout Lebanon’s coronavirus lockdown 8 weeks ago.
Lebanon’s glamorous music festivals – which once attracted jazz legends like Nina Simone, and the fantastic Arab singers Um Kulthoum and Fairouz – were already struggling. Economic woes and regional conflict-hit organizers in recent years.
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Fazlian said he desired to send “a message of hope and solidarity” as Lebanon sinks deep into the worst financial melt down of its history, compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic.
His was the only real concert of the Baalbek music festival this year, Lebanon’s oldest, which since 1956 helped make the nation a cultural lodestar for the region.
Nayla De Freij, head of the Baalbek festival committee, said most of the artists and technicians done Sunday’s massive project at no cost.
“It’s like a big scream that we want life to go on,” she said.