domingo, 24 de julio de 2011

Piano concert under the stars of Lebanon

I recently attended an incredible concert in the midst of Roman ruins a couple of hours away from Beirut. The setting couldn't have been more perfect.

As I was seating and watching my surroundings, I couldn't help but being, once more, surprised by Lebanon. I mean, this is a country that is constantly under some sort of political, economic or social instability. And here, in the midst of what would be considered "hostile" territory (indeed, some unfortunate Estonians had been kidnapped in the area in March this year, and were released recently), I am listening to a world-class pianist perform Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin. I did take some video, but -helas- the Internet speed in my apartment will not allow me to upload things to YouTube :(

Top moments of the night:
1. When in the middle of Prokofiev's Sarcasms a series of loud bangs where heard, probably (hopefully) fire works coming from the village nearby in celebration of a wedding or other equally significant event (and the audience of course, pretended not hearing them)
2. When in the middle of the concert, we heard the Call to Prayer, loud and clear. Here, again, the audience and performerpretended nothing was happening. The performer did stop at some point, in a highly theatrical pause, that I suspect had more to do with a little mental break from the noise, than with the music itself.
3. The kebab stand and Pepsi vending machine, inside of the ruins, for all hungry concert- goers searching for a lat night snack.

Overall, the performance was incredible, the setting amazing, and the organization impeccable. Which brings back my overarching conversation around the contradictions of Lebanon. On the one had, you have this chaotic, disorderly country where things seldomly work properly, and on the other, you have this amazingly cultured, sophisticated and refined people, who give you access to experiences that you would never dream of seeing.

Here are some more pictures of an unforgettable night. Enjoy.

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