Concert of the National Orchestra at the opening of the Iranian cultural festival in Beirut

TEHRAN — An Iranian cultural festival will open on Monday with a concert by the National Orchestra at the Lebanese Arts Association in Beirut.

Leading a cultural delegation, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili, will attend the performance, the ministry said in a press release on Thursday.

The culture ministry will organize the week-long festival, named “Cultural Days of Alfajr”, in collaboration with the association, a Hezbollah-run center also known as Rissalat, the ministry.

Several Lebanese musicians will also join the orchestra to perform a repertoire of Arabic songs.

Exhibitions of works of art, including paintings, photographs and cartoons, and handicrafts will also be held.

Groups of artists from different media will also participate in the festival to organize workshops and performances in several cultural centers in Beirut.

The festival will also screen several Iranian films, including the political thriller “Trace of Blood” by director Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian.

Groups of Iranian scholars and Lebanese cultural figures were also invited to organize poetry evenings and literary sessions during the festival.

Esmaeili is due to hold meetings with his Lebanese counterpart, Abbas Mortada, to discuss expanding cultural relations between the two countries.

There has been a close cultural relationship between Iran and Lebanon.

Hussein al-Ajami, adviser to the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, visited Iran in September 2020 to attend a ceremony organized by Iran for the release of the music video “Restless for Balqis” at Rudaki Hall in Tehran.

The clip was recorded by the National Orchestra of Iran in sympathy with Lebanon during the disastrous explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020.

The National Orchestra under the direction of Lebanese maestro Andre AlHaj and eminent singer Hamidreza Nurbakhsh performed the piece composed by Fardin Khalatbari with lyrics by Ahura Iman.

“There has been a close relationship between Iran and Lebanon, and that helps to implement this cultural project,” Rudaki Foundation Director General Mehdi Afzali said at the ceremony.

In a brief speech, Al-Ajami praised the collaboration between Iranian and Lebanese musicians in the “Restless for Balqis” project and noted, “We are crying that Beirut neither burn nor sink; Beirut stands tall and carries the message of peace and friendship to the whole world.

Photo: A poster for the Iranian festival “Alfajr Cultural Days”.

MMS/YAW

Darcy J. Skinner