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Mar 26Apr 05, 2021
6:00 PM


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On 17 October 2019, the "Lebanese revolution" recovered part of its history, one that had deliberately been muddied and repressed. The disappearance of historical spaces has contributed to an incomplete view of the past, and therefore of the present too.  Without these spaces, Lebanon's youth cannot possibly imagine what their country could have been had it not been destroyed by the civil war. The city still harbors incredible and terrifying secrets, as demonstrated by the horrific blast on 4 August 2020.

Built during the 1920s, the Grand Theater of Beirut is one of the last vestiges of the pre-war era. It hosted stage performances and screenings of Arab and international films. But this magical place was destroyed by the conflict and has been a mere shadow of its former self since the end of the war in 1990. There are no serious plans to rebuild it, to bring it back to life. Many Beirut residents had never been inside it until the October Revolution of 2019 forced open its doors.

For Anthony Sahyoun, one of the leading figures of Lebanese alternative rock, and visual artist Aya Atoui, this is a place of great beauty that had to be reborn from its ashes. The pair created a sort of ghostly opera for it, the first work staged at the venue for decades. And so, from out of this chaos, a voice emerged: soprano Monà Hallab performing Mild und Leise from Liebestod, the final act in Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde".  Love in death leads to a rebirth.

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