Saturday, June 05, 2010

Fez Sacred Music Festival - Opening Night

Fassi society was out in all its finery tonight at the opening at Bab al Makina of the 16th Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Helen Ranger reports.

(click on photos to enlarge)

The Royal Cambodian Ballet (pictured above) presented 'The legend of the creation of the Khmer Kingdom', a ballet in five acts. Glittering costumes, elaborate headdresses and exquisite dance entranced the audience. The traditional pinpeat orchestra was composed of xylophones, gongs and strident oboes, along with percussion of drums and cymbals.

The exquisite hand gestures of this form of dance were unfortunately not visible to most of the audience as, for some inexplicable reason, the side projection screen was not used. Much of the subtleties were lost because of this, which disturbed some, but overall the audience was very appreciative of what they could see.

The Royal Guard attended HRH Princess Lalla Salma, who was warmly welcomed by the crowd.

Announcements were made in Arabic:

and in French and English:

Seen in the crowd:

The King's advisor Andre Azoulay and actor Said Taghmaoui

Artistic Director Alain Weber

Festival President, Mohamed Kabbaj

Indian dancer

Josephine Kwan and her friend, Isabelle

Festival Commercial Director, Driss Faceh

Over the years the opening nights have been criticized for lack of impact and lack of sacredness in the music. Tonight's concert provided an insight into a very different culture and was a fairly successful, if low-key, opening to what promises to be an interesting festival.

Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories on The View from Fez, click HERE!

16h00 Batha Museum: Gotipura Dancers from Raghurajput Heritage Village, India
20h30 Bab al Makina: to be confirmed ... who will replace Ben Harper? See our previous story.

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