'Music Fascinates Me'

THE REGION'S first Arabic performance of Mozart's celebrated opera Don Giovanni closed on a high note.

By Layla Haroon (Contributor)

Published: Mon 10 Mar 2008, 12:17 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:24 PM

The event, part of the annual Al Ain Classical Music Festival was a huge success that saw a record number of fans who were packed 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.

"This was a truly memorable night for Al Ain," said Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, who attended the performance.

"Given its standing as a centre for culture and heritage, Al Ain was the perfect venue for a night that will be remembered for some time to come."

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.

Baritone Toufic Maatouk, the Director of the Higher Institute of Music and the director of the choir of Antonine University, played the main role of Don Giovanni in the opera.

What led you to the path of music?

Music fascinates me. My first experience was the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra in Mozart's coronation Mass where I took part as basso solo. That was amazing.

Much of your repertoire is the Baroque and Classic. Explain.

My formation in vocal technique has reached the baroque and the classical. I sing a lot of baroque music especially oratorios like Handel and Bach. And for my classical repertoire, I do operas especially Mozart's operas, Italian and German repertoire. Every repertoire is different from each other and has its own beauty.

How do you feel performing the main role in Don Giovanni Opera?

This was first experience in Don Giovanni opera as a stage work and the second in WA Mozarts music. Last year with Lebanese National symphony orchestra, I sang the 'opera Bastien und bastienne' in Colas role with acting on stage. Performing Don Giovanni is a very interesting thing to me because it actually represents how a man with his double character fights the deity for his dubious self-conscience.

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