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"I want to eat hummus," declares bass soloist Andreas Fischer, in German.Fischer is surrounded on the Masrah al-Madina stage by six voices – tenor Martin Nagy and baritone Guillermo Anzorena stand elevated on a platform behind him, while countertenor Daniel Gloger and sopranos Johanna Zimmer, Susanne Leitz-Lorey and Truike van der Poel are arrayed before him."Hummus," they sing, as if in incantation, "hummus hummus". "Hummus," the transparently titled short opera for seven voices and percussion, was composed by Paris-based Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka in 2014 .The work had its Beirut debut Wednesday evening, framed by "Two Songs from Mihyar of Damascus," a work for five voices by Syrian-born Zaid Jabri, and "Jarich [Moon God]," a piece for three sopranos by Palestinian-born Samir Odeh-Tamimi. These three contemporary vocal works were performed by Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, the headliners of the opening night concert of Iritjal, Beirut's international festival for experimental music. As it unfolds at Irtijal "Hummus" is a highly amusing performance.Beaini began the show bowing an electric rabab (described as a Middle Eastern fiddle or lute, depending on whether the musician bows or plucks the strings). Sommer responded from his drum kit at first, setting the rhythm with utterly precise jazz patter.
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