Queens & Empresses of the Orient – Al Bustan Festival 2017

The 2017 festival took place between 15 February & 19 March 2017.

See you in 2018!





Anush Hovhannisyan, soprano, Ketevan Kemoklidze, mezzo, Giulio Pelligra, tenor, Michel de Souza, baritone, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Wednesday 15 February at 20:30

The “Queens and Empresses of the Orient” Festival unfolds in the oriental palace of King Herod in Jerusalem with Hérodiade and her daughter Salomé. It is an Orient as seen by the French composers Massenet (1842-1912), Gounod (1818 -1893), Saint-Saens (1835-1921) and the Italian composer Rossini (1792-1868).

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Sponsored by BLOM BANK


Quatuor Morphing

Friday 17 February at 20:30

The Morphing Quartet won the first prize at the prestigious Chamber Music Competition in Osaka in 2011. The French-Lebanese saxophonist Anthony Malkoun is a member of the quartet. The brilliant saxophonists are in Lebanon for the first time.

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Victor Julien-Laferrière, cello, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Saturday 18 February at 20:30

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Sebastian Pietsch, saxophone, Richard Mosthaf, didgeridoo, alpenhorn, Thomas Hoffmann, alpenhorn, french horn, Matthias Dressler, marimba, percussion, Thomas Ringleb, percussion

Sunday 19 February at 16:30

Five musicians, principals of the Brandenburg Symphony, have put together an unusual ensemble as a result of a desire to experiment with new sounds. Through its music, the Jacaranda Ensemble builds a bridge between the cultures of the world. The positive response of the public as well as international respect has confirmed the unusual concept of the Jacaranda Ensemble.

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Sponsored by German Ministry of Foreign affairsGerman Ministry of Foreign affairs


Anna Bonitatibus, mezzo-soprano, Marco Marzocchi, piano, six musicians from Al Bustan Festival Orchestra

Monday 20 February at 20:30

A concert dedicated to the legendary Semiramis, wife of the Biblical Nimrod, Queen of the Assyrian Empire (reigned 811-806 BCE). The majority of the pieces in the program were unknown in modern times before being unearthed by Anna Bonitatibus, a few years ago. About this concert at Wigmore Hall: “Altogether an exhilarating evening of rarities and novelty, sung with full blooded rigor” Bachtrack.

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Dr. Nasser el Taee

Tuesday 21 February at 18:30
Venue: Bathish Auditorium - A.U.B

"Under the spell of magic: the Oriental Queen in Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade" This talk seeks to link Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade to Antoine Galland’s Les Mille et Une Nuits as a continuation of European fascination with the Oriental tale, and in particular, the Oriental woman.

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Nestan Meboniya, soprano, Alessandra Volpe, mezzo, Giulio Pelligra, tenor, Goderzi Janelidze, bass, Choir of the Serbian National Theatre, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Wednesday 22 February at 20:30
Venue: Saint Joseph Jesuit Church

The Stabat Mater describes the suffering of Mary, mother of Jesus, as her son is crucified. Rossini’s Stabat Mater combines two entirely different styles of composition: traditional church music in the Renaissance manner of Palestrina and Pergolesi, and arias that would not sound out of place in a typical Rossini opera. It was described as “noble, simple and severe.”

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Sponsored by WARDEItalian Cultural Institute


Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi, bandoneon, Ksenia Kogan, piano, Khaled Mouzanar, piano, The Al Bustan Festival Quintet, Gianluca Marcianò, piano & conductor

Thursday 23 February at 20:30

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OPERA MEDEA (concert performance)

Svelta Vassileva, soprano (Medea), Ilona Domnich, soprano (Dirce), Daniela Pini, mezzo soprano(Néris), Lorenzo Decaro, tenor (Giasone), Goderzi Janelidze, bass (Creon), Choir of the Serbian National Theatre, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Sunday 26 February at 19:00

Medea is an Opera that is rarely performed. It has been said that it requires a soprano with vocal cords of amalgamated steel to sing the title role of MEDEA and Svetla Vassileva has it.

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Sponsored by Italian Cultural InstituteAssociation PHILIPPE JABRE


Renaud Capuçon, violin, Khatia Buniatishvili, piano, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Wednesday 1 March at 20:30

It is Martha Argerich who played musical matchmaker and brought these two brilliant performers together. Their concerts at Lugano Festival in 2012 were a resounding success. Renaud has been praised for his “intensely lyrical” tone and “gloriously rich sound” (BBC Music Magazine). Khatia was described as the “fiery young star” and hailed by Argerich as “a young pianist of extraordinary talent.”

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Sponsored by CMA CGM Foundation D'entrepriseUBS Bank


Renaud Capuçon, violin, Khatia Buniatishvili, piano

Thursday 2 March at 20:30

Khatia and I met over Franck’s sonata,” Capuçon recalls. “This is the sonata that sealed our musical partnership, the sheer joy of playing together.”

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Sponsored by Bank AudiInstitut Francais


Gloria Campaner, piano, Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, Beatrice Venezi, conductor

Saturday 4 March at 20:30

Who else but Gloria Campaner to play the Piano Concerto No. 3? The” Eroica” Symphony, also No. 3, is one of the major milestones in the development of Beethoven’s style trademark.

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Sponsored by DeloitteItalian Cultural Institute


Gloria Campaner, synthesizer, Caecus Animi, live act/ drum machines/ synthesizer

Sunday 5 March at 21:30
Venue: SIX by Pre

A fusion of classical piano with live electronic music. A journey through techno, dub, dance music and improvisation, bringing classics from the past into a new light. Produced by Caecus Animi and Gloria Campaner

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JULIA DOMNA - Theatre in Arabic

Mireille Maalouf (as Julia Domna) Serena Chami (as the servant) Director: Cherif Khaznadar

Monday 6 March at 20:30

Julia Domna ( about 170-217) born in Emesa, today's Homs in Syria, daughter of the High Priest Bassianus. She got married to Emperor Septimius Severus. Together they ruled a huge empire at the turn of the second and third centuries ( 193- 211) She was the mother of Emperors Caracalla and Geta and was famous for her quick learning as well as her extraordinary political influence. After the murder of her son Emperor Caracalla, she chose to commit suicide in 217.

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Jorge Viladoms, piano, Lionel Cottet, cello

Tuesday 7 March at 20:30

Two musicians playing with elegance and virtuosity. Lionel Cottet plays an 1852 Jean-Baptiste Guillaume cello

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Sponsored by Agencia Mexicana De Cooperacion Para El DesarrplloEmbajada De Mexico En LibanoEmbassy of Switzerland in Lebanon


Regula Mühlemann, soprano, La Folia Barockorchester (17 musicians)

Friday 10 March at 20:30

Together with the acclaimed soprano Regula Mühlemann, La Folia Barockorchester explores the historical figure of Cleopatra through the different interpretations of Baroque composers. Besides famous arias by George Frideric Handel and Johann Adolf Hasse, the program also reveals pieces by Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonio Vivaldi.

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Sponsored by Banque Libano FrancaiseEmbassy of the Federal Republic of Germany


Katia Guerreiro, singer FADO, Pedro de Castro – guitar portugaise, Luís Guerreiro – guitare portugaise, João Veiga – Guitare classic, Francisco Gaspar- Bass, António Martins - Iluminacion, Luís Caldeira - son, Paulo Ochoa – tour manager

Saturday 11 March at 20:30

“Une interprète parfaite pour mettre en voix la solitude, l’angoisse vitale, le déchirement, la séparation des amants, les ombres et les lumières, l’essence de l’enivrante beauté du fado”. Le Monde, 2015

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Sponsored by Allianz SNA


Tamás Pálfalvi, trumpet, Orquesta Joven de Extremadura, Gianluca Marcianὸ , conductor

Sunday 12 March at 20:30

Queen of Sheba is a biblical figure 967 B.C.E.. Her legendary voyage to meet Solomon, King of Israel, has inspired centuries of speculation about her kingdom and influence in the ancient world. “Pálfalvi sets new standards for trumpet playing” MDR Figaro, 2015

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Sponsored by Ministerio De Asuntos Exteriores Y De Cooperacion


Fanny Clamagirand, violin, Orquesta Joven de Extremadura, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Tuesday 14 March at 20:30

Fanny Clamagirand recorded the complete Saint- Saëns Violin Concertos. Her CD has been awarded a “Choc” by the French musical magazine Classica. Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3 was praised for its poetic atmosphere.

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Sponsored by FRANSABANK


Xenia Gamaris, violin, Ksenia Zhuleva, viola, Orquesta Joven de Extremadura, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Thursday 16 March at 20:30

Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola can be considered his most successful realization in this cross-over genre between symphony and concerto. It happens that the name of the two Russian female soloists is doubled as well.

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Silvia dalla Benetta, soprano, Paola Gardina, mezzo, Lorenzo Decaro, tenor, Orquesta Joven de Extremadura, Gianluca Marcianὸ, conductor

Sunday 19 March at 20:30

Berlioz's La Mort de Cléopâtre is a deeply admired work that has been taken up by some of the most important mezzo singers of our time. It is the perfect way to bring the Festival to an end.

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The Festival Exhibition

Jad El Khoury

Monday 20 March
Venue: Emile Bustani Auditorium Gallery

Exhibition runs from 15 February till 20 March

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