BEIRUT: The Beiteddine Art Festival has announced its lineup for the 2013 edition. BAF aspires to be more than a simple slate of concerts, and its June 21-Aug. 10 schedule of performances, ranging in genre from jazz to ballet, will play out in counterpoint to exhibitions of visual art.
BAF will open with director Alain Weber’s musical “On the Steps of Marco Polo, A Musical Journey on the Silk Road.” Conducted by maestro Lubnan Baalbaki, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra will accompany the troupe of vocalists who will recount the story of the famed Venetian explorer – played by Rafic Ali Ahmad – and his travels on the Silk Road.
From June 26-29, “Splendid!” will feature the multitalented China National Acrobatic Troupe in a 12-act program that combines music, dance as well as such acrobatics as hand and glass balancing, and trapeze.
Beiteddine has programmed shows by several Arab artists. On July 4-5, Iraqi vocalist Kazim al-Sahir – depicted as “The Caesar of Arabic music” – will return to his adoring Chouf audience with his blend of sonorous arrangements and Arabic poetry.
For jazz lovers, singer-songwriter Dee Dee Bridgewater and pianist Ramsey Lewis will perform a duet show on July 17. These acclaimed artists – whom have won three Grammy awards apiece – will enliven Beiteddine Palace with groovy melodies.
BAF will pay homage to Syria’s cultural heritage on July 19, with the trio performance featuring clarinetist and composer Kinan Amzeh and vocalists Ibrahim Keivo and Rasha Rizk, the latter of whom may be recalled for her work on the soundtrack of Nadine Labaki’s “Caramel.”
Beiteddine will usher in August with ballet, thanks to French ballet troupe Preljocaj’s staging of “Les Nuits” on Aug. 1. Choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj for a cast of 18, this piece takes its inspiration from “1,001 Nights,” and in particular the erotic role of women in the tales.
French vocalist Patricia Kaas will bring her homage to Edith Piaf on Aug. 10. The concert marks the Levantine leg of Kaas’ “Kaas chante Piaf” tour, which was rapturously received in Russia.
The visual art component of this year’s festival features a photographic tribute to Lebanese film director Maroun Baghdadi (1950-93). The photo exhibition will hang alongside a show of wooden, stone and metal sculpture by Anashar Basbous, which will see a bit of Rashana (the artist’s hometown) temporarily migrate to Beiteddine.
Two of BAF’s events will focus on younger audiences. On June 1, students from the Lebanese School of Fine Arts will present Georges Schehade’s show “Etincelles” (Sparkles). On Aug. 4 a concert by the Youth Symphonic Band of the NGO LeBAM is comprised of musicians from 12-18 years old.
The Beiteddine Art Festival runs June 21-Aug. 10. For more information, please visit www.beiteddine.org or call 01-373-430.