As part of its Ramadan Series under the theme “Human Fraternity: Dignity and Hope”,in partnership with Hiba Al Kawas Academy and with support from Lead Partner Mubadala Investment Company (“Mubadala”), the 18th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival, themed “The Future Starts Now”, presented talented countertenor Mohammed Khayran Al-Zahrani, the first Saudi artist to join an Italian choir in Rome, in a special performance titled “Ethereal,” was streamed online via the Festival’s digital platforms.
The magnificent performance saw wide and positive engagement from audience with Al-Zahrani’s performance of “Aala Wa Amjadu” (Sublime &Glorious) composed by Dr. Hiba Al Kawas, on a poem by Hassan bin Thabit, and to underline his unique vocal abilities.
Accompanied by members of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra and produced and conducted by composer, soprano and academic Dr. Hiba Al Kawas, the performance featured Al-Zahrani’s unique, ethereal voice that goes beyond the usual limits of bass. Through professional vocal coaching and training from Dr. Al Kawas, the young singer was able to achieve new vocal range.
“A countertenor voice is a rare one that can reach very high pitches just like a canary; however, some countertenors, like Mohammed, have a bass vocal ability (baritone) allowing them to reach low pitches as well”, said Dr. Hiba Al Kawas.
Al-Zahrani said: “I am grateful to be a part of the Ramadan Series presented by Abu Dhabi Festival, a main player in supporting the regional culture and arts sector. This collaboration is a significant addition to my career, as it is the first time that I perform opera in Arabic. It was a challenging performance, but thanks to Dr. Hiba’s coaching every step of the way, we overcame all challenges.”
“We aim to spread love, peace, and unity, each in our own way, and to transform our world into a positive place, as we come together and do our part every day to live without fear or sadness,” he added.
Members of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the music and filmed in the iconic National Museum of Lebanon in Beirut, while Al Zahrani filmed in Al-Tayebat International City of Science and Knowledge, a ‘must see’ Islamic heritage museum in Jeddah.
The “Human Fraternity: Dignity and Hope” Ramadan Series includes digital performances of over 25 songs and chants by bright Arab vocalists and creators, written by 11 poets and writers and performed by 8 chanters and singers accompanied by 60 musicians.
On April 26th, the Ramadan Series continues with the Saudi artist Tamtam, performing enthralling spiritual songs celebrating the values shared by all religions, in a performance titled of A Dreamer’s Serenade.
The series is part of the 18thAbu Dhabi Festival’s yearlong programme, themed “The Future Starts Now”, combining virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions and events by over 500 artists from more than 50 countries. The Festival will bring audiences 16 exciting world premieres, 12 festival productions, eight global co-productions and four exclusive commissions, with one international music tour.