The “City of the Sun” saw Baalbek singing and joying Sunday evening during a huge concert without the audience, which is the only one this year in the framework of the ancient Lebanese festival, in an event that wears great symbolism in light of an unprecedented crisis in the country.
For an hour, the Lebanese watched through local TV stations and social media the concert titled “Voice of Resilience” and was performed by the Lebanese National Philharmonic Orchestra led by Maestro Harot Vaseline.
More than 150 participants distributed between players and singers of cours across the courtyard of the Temple of Bacchus in the Roman Castle listed on the UNESCO Heritage List, largely maintaining the requirements of physical spacing imposed by the outbreak of the Corona virus.
In a remarkable scriptography signed by Jean-Louis Mange and an elaborate theater scene that took into account the privacy and symbolism of the historical site, the participants circled inside the Roman temple in a circular ring with Hala Nour, similar to the bright sun with golden threads in the heart of the “City of the Sun”.
Viewers also moved with the camera between the corners of the Temple of Bacchus, whose columns were illuminated in different colors overshadowed by red, with a TV directing in which the latest visual techniques were used, including especially aerial footage that showed the historic castle on which the major artists in Lebanon and the world stood since the launch of the Baalbek festivals before more than Six decades.
A varied music program
The music program included a variety of artworks in which classic compositions such as “O Fortuna” from the texts of Carmina Burana and “Hymn Al Farah” by Beethoven mixed with Lebanese songs from the works of the Rahbani brothers in addition to rock.
During the ceremony, the temple’s poles also displayed scenes reminiscent of the most prominent names hosted by the festivals since the Fayrouz plays and the Umm Kulthum concerts in the sixties and seventies, through the world’s leading singers, plays and ballet dancers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Maurice Bijar and Miles Davis.
During the evening, the Lebanese actor Rafik Ali Ahmed also presented a theatrical scene adapted from the story “Tear and Smile” by the Lebanese writer and philosopher Gibran Khalil Gibran.
A cry of hope
The Lebanese interacted on social media with this party, which its organizers described as a “cry of hope” to ensure that “culture in Lebanon will not die.” Many among them, politicians and media people, praised this event, which presents a positive scene on Lebanon that contradicts the prevailing atmosphere due to the suffocating economic and social crisis in the country.
During the summer, Lebanon usually sees many concerts and music festivals throughout the country. In the past two decades, these events have attracted some of the most famous international artists, including Shakira, Sting, Andrea Bocelli and Placido Domingo.
However, the country is currently experiencing the worst economic collapse in decades, with a liquidity crisis and banks failing to provide depositors with their money in dollars, as well as high inflation, which left about half of the population below the poverty line. Added to this are the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure that accompanied it.
As of Sunday, Lebanon had officially registered 1873 new cases of Coronavirus, including 36 deaths, since it appeared in the country at the end of February.
The deteriorating economic conditions sparked the launch of an unprecedented wave of protests that swept the Lebanese regions in the fall of 2019, rejecting the performance of the political class accused of corruption and failure to manage the country’s chronic crises.