You are here

Zeina Barhoum hails opera as ‘food for the mind, heart and soul’

Soprano expresses hope event will help spread art form across country

By Muath Freij - Jul 24,2017 - Last updated at Jul 24,2017

Zeina Barhoum

AMMAN — Despite the recent difficulties facing the region, Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum initiated a two-day opera festival to send a message of “love and togetherness”. 

In an interview with The Jordan Times on Saturday, Barhoum said 150 international musicians and dancers from more than 10 countries were brought together to take part in delivering this message. 

Amman Opera Festival, organised under the patronage of HRH Princess Muna, held in downtown Amman’s Roman Theatre on July 19 and 22, was attended by many opera enthusiasts. 

“I always wanted to put together an opera in that theatre, but the inspiration intensified when another initiative materialised, ‘opera at the Roman Downtown’, in May 2016,” Barhoum said.

She recalled her initiative to introduce opera to Jordan and to the Arab world, with the aim of bridging cultures and increasing appreciation for the genre.  

The Jordanian artists stressed the importance of the arts, describing it as “food for the mind, heart and soul”. 

“It makes a society more productive, develops cognitive thinking and, most of all, brings people together from different parts of the world to speak one language. Music is for everyone and so is opera,” she said.

Zeina Barhoum, who started on her musical path in 1997, is a classically trained soprano, who won a best soloist award in the Eisteddfod competition at a young age.  

Barhoum said opera is a “beautiful” art form that was developed by the Italians towards the end of the 16th century and then spread across the rest of Europe.

“I think such an event in Jordan will help spread this art form across the country and hopefully reactivate a recent initiative to build a national opera house,” she added. 

The singer described the Roman Theatre as “a magical venue in every sense of the word”.

“Its beauty, history and natural acoustics help very much in making an opera production come to life. At my concert in May 2016, I vividly saw it happening and couldn’t imagine it elsewhere. Just seemed like the perfect place at the time and it proved me right. People described last year’s event as magical and we have been getting the same feedback this year,” the soprano added.

Barhoum noted festivals similar to her initiative can help in attracting tourists to Jordan.


“Many flew over to Amman to attend an opera production in a Roman theatre. Not in Verona in Italy, but in Jordan, which I think is quite a special experience,” she concluded. 

128 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.