Music: in Paestum, Muti builds a bridge towards ailing Syria

Eroica on 5 July honouring Hevrin Khalaf and Khaled al-Assad

24 June, 16:46

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JUNE 24 - A concert event titled "The Roads of Friendship" directed by conductor Riccardo Muti and organised by the Ravenna Festival began in 1997 in Sarajevo and has since taken place in various cities across the world, including Beirut, Jerusalem, Yerevan, New York, and Damascus. This year, the concert moves to Paestum, where it will serve to build a musical bridge towards Syria and the archaeological site of Palmyra, which was devastated by ISIS and was joined with Paestum through a twinning initiative that was launched in 2018.

    The concert, performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica", will take place in front of the Temple of Neptune on 5 July, with Muti conducting the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra with musicians from the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert is dedicated to the suffering of the Syrian people in recent years, in the form of two people who are symbolic of that suffering: Hevrin Khalaf and Khaled al-Assad. Khalaf was on the front lines in the fight for women's rights in Syria, and for this she was killed at age 35 in an ambush in October 2019. Assad was the director of the Palmyra museum, left alone to defend it from the destruction of ISIS members who beheaded him before they laid waste to the museum. Kurdish-origin musician Aynur Dogan and artist Zehra Dogan, both of whom work for women's rights and as such have been subject to attacks and censorship, will also be at the concert with Muti. "We are coming to Paestum following the path of the Roads of Friendship that started many years ago in a Sarajevo torn apart by bombs," Muti said. "We are coming with the execution of the Eroica by Beethoven, with that funeral march that reflects the state of our souls for the massacres against culture, and I'm referring to Palmyra, twinned with Paestum, and highlighting our relationship with Syria. The Paestum concert has deep meaning that underscores love and brotherhood towards a country that I've visited. Many years ago I was in Damascus, and I had the chance to work with young Syrian musicians in a rehearsal for a symphony by Tchaikovsky. I don't know if that orchestra still exists, I don't know if the conservatory, which had just been built, still exists. But we are proud to have incorporated some musicians who come from the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra, who will perform with us," he said.(ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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