Arabic Don Giovanni Earns Standing Ovation
by Maria Karam
The region's first Arabic performance of Mozart's celebrated opera Don Giovanni closed with a standing ovation in the Garden City of the United Arab Emirates Thursday to raise the curtain on the eighth, and largest, annual Al Ain Classical Music Festival.
Having played to a near capacity audience in the Al Ain Municipality Theatre, the cast – of eight soloists from Egypt and Lebanon with a chorus from Lebanon Chorale de l'universite Antonine and superbly accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor and musical director Zbigniew Graca – drew tremendous applause as they emerged on stage to take their bows with the production's Polish director Ryszard Peryt.
It was an evening when Al Ain wrote itself into the classical music record books – the first Arabic performance in the region of the Mozart masterpiece with the libretto ably translated through 14 months of dedication by Egyptian opera lover, Dr. Aly Sadek.
It was also a night never to be forgotten for young Lebanese soprano Nadine Nassar who made her operatic debut in the production in the role of Zerlina.
Holding back tears at the end of the performance, Nadine said the evening had been "highly emotional" for her.
"I would like to thank the Al Ain Classical Music Festival Committee for this opportunity. The chance to perform with fellow professionals and under professional direction and accompaniment from such a great orchestra is something I will never forget. Al Ain will be a place I will always now remember."
With a simple, yet dramatic, stage set designed by Ryszard Peryt and rich, period costumes designed by Poland's Katarzyna Stolarczyk, the production was a triumph in combining the libretto, music and theatre talents of both Europe and the Middle East.
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