Ithra Theater to pay tribute to music legends Asmahan, Umm Kalthoum


Saudi Gazette report

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) will host the National Arab Orchestra (NAO), to pay tribute to the classic songs of Arab musical icons Asmahan and Umm Kalthoum, performed by the artists Lubana Al Quntar and Mai Farouk at the Ithra Theater on Nov. 22 and 23.

Commenting on the tribute concert, Majed Z. Samman, Ithra’s head of performing arts, said: “We at Ithra are excited to deliver an evening of timeless Arabic classics to our audiences, performed by contemporary singers Lubana Al Quntar and Mai Farouk and featuring the renowned National Arab Orchestra. The performance falls under the Ithra Theater’s mission to offer visitors a cultural access point to high caliber performances that broaden cultural horizons, and we are thrilled to have our esteemed orchestra and performance partners join us in the ultimate call back to Arabic musical culture.”

The National Arab Orchestra was founded by Michael Ibrahim, who also serves as the NAO’s music director. Since its start in 2009, NAO has been reputable as a leading organization for Arab music. Coming to Ithra, the NAO continues to celebrate Arab women in music with Syrian artist, Lubana Al Quntar, and Egyptian singer, Mai Farouk.

Lubana Al Quntar dedicates her tribute performance with NAO to honor her relative Amal Al Atrash, better known for her stage name, Asmahan. Al Quntar is the first Syrian opera singer to be well-known internationally and to have had held concerts throughout Europe.

Mai Farouk fostered her musical talent covering songs in admiration of Umm Kalthoum. Farouk's adoration of the traditional Tarab, an Arabic word used to describe the emotional effect of music, has captivated performances across the Arab World including the Arab Musical Festival. Her talent won her several prestigious awards and prizes in regional and international competitions.

The orchestral musical performance is open to all audiences as it pays homage to a classic era in Arabic music and is part of Ithra’s mission to deliver international standards of programming. Previous international performances at the Ithra Theater this year included Rigoletto by Milan’s La Scala opera house, the Wizard of Oz and oud legend Naseer Shamma.

Ithra’s Theater, a 900-seater, hosts a diverse program of local and international productions, forums and discussions that promise to ignite cultural curiosity and inspire creativity through ideas, imagination and innovation. From showcasing the world’s best orchestras, productions and performances to celebrating Saudi’s social and cultural values, the Theater promises world-class experiences to appeal to everyone.

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