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Bocelli fires up Jerash in ‘concert of the decade’

By Mahmoud Al Abed - Sep 20,2017 - Last updated at Sep 21,2017

World-famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Jordanian soprano Dima Bawab perform in Jersah on Monday (Petra photo)

JERASH – Andrea Bocelli, the world’s “most beloved tenor”, added to the ecstatic audience’s euphoria when he, responding to the cheers of thousands who attended his Jerash concert Monday night, returned to the stage more than once after bowing out to sing more.

Performing against the backdrop of Zeus Temple, the 59-year-old Italian singer was accompanied by 160 artists, including Jordanian soprano Dima Bawab and members of the Jordan National Conservatory Orchestra, who were in complete harmony with the other musicians, singers and choir members coming from diverse countries, including Georgia, Lebanon, and Italy, among others. 

Fountain of Love, a purely Jordanian group of 61 members, played a key role in the concert. According to its website, the choir was founded during Christmas time in 2002 to perform Christmas carols. The first performance, which involved several people from the Youth Group took place at the Greek Catholic Church in Zarqa. Later on, the Choir expanded to include additional male and female members.

The concert was split into two parts, by a 20-minutre interval. During the first, Bocelli performed classical songs like La donna è mobile, from Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Part two saw more of famous pop songs, especially in English, such as “Maria”, “Be My Love”, and “Fools Rush In”. 

Bawab first sang solo before joining Bocelli in a duet and other singers in a group joined in towards the end of the event, which was described as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” by Issam Salfiti, the chairperson of the Friends of Jordan Festivals, the organiser.

Bawab received a standing ovation for her performance, which matched that of the other professional artists accompanying Bocelli as he kicked off a world tour from the ancient Greco-Roman city.

Fans who attended the concert, including Jordanians and expats, took to social media to express their impression of the event, praising the organisers as well as the performance of each member of the ensemble. 

“A captivating night where history meets culture. Andrea Bocelli took us to a whole new world. #BocelliJO” wrote Abd Alrahman Alnsour.

An engineering student, Omar Masroujeh wrote on Twitter that it was a “legendary night in Jerash: the originality of the place met the magnificence of performance”.

Geroge Mountis posted: “#bocelliJo. A truly unique experience”.

The concert has been promoted as a major summertime event to attract tourists to the Kingdom, due to the world popularity of the artist, who has sold more than 80 million copies of his recorded works. 

Tourism Minister Lina Annab has noted that the tourism scene in Jordan has shown signs of recovery lately, with growing numbers of tourists. She attributed the increase to several factors including the active role played by the private sector.

She cited Friends of Jordan Festivals, the society organising today’s event, as one of the main contributors to tourism promotion through its activities.

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