Abu Dhabi Festival takes Etel Adnan’s ‘L’Apocalypse Arabe’ to France

mise en scene PIERRE AUDI; Decor Lumiere Urs Schönebaum ;costumes Wojciech Dziedzic; Video Chris Kondek ;directeur musical Ilan Volkov ; Le choers mille Allérat, Pauline Sikirdji*, Fiona McGown*, Camille Merckx, Helena Rasker Le Temoin Thomas Oliemans; Ensemble modern

An opera based on the poems by Lebanese-American artist Etel Adnan was staged at the Parc des Ateliers in the French city of Arles on Sunday and Monday.

Produced by the Abu Dhabi Festival and the cultural institute Luma Foundation, L’Apocalypse Arabe is based on works written by Adnan in 1975 during the Lebanese Civil War, and represent the impact of Arab culture and the disaster caused by war, while condemning crimes that spring from intolerance.

‘L’Apocalypse Arabe’ is based on works written by Lebanese-American poet Etel Adnan in 1975 during the Lebanese Civil War. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival

The opera was directed by French-Lebanese theatre director Pierre Audi, with music and libretto by the Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi. Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, an ensemble of musicians from across Europe and Asia, performed the opera, conducted by Ivan Volkov.

“Abu Dhabi Festival’s co-production is a historic opportunity to present [Adnan’s] poetry and artwork on a global stage with composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi and director Pierre Audi. The production adds new depth and intensity, echoing Etel’s powerful call for peace,” said Huda I Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, and founder and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival.

Lebanese-American poet Etel Adnan. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival

Composing the music was a realisation of a 20-year dream for Odeh-Tamimi.

L’Apocalypse Arabe had a profound impact on me, and I have thought of it daily since I read it in 2001. Seeing this project come to fruition is a dream come true. This opera has been a creative experience like no other, and I am confident that with the hard work of our team, it communicated Etel Adnan’s vision truly and powerfully.”

Held under the theme, The Future Starts Now, Abu Dhabi Festival’s year-long programme for its 18th iteratiom combines a hybrid of virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions and events. This year, there will be 16 world premieres, 12 festival productions, eight global co-productions and four exclusive commissions, with one global music tour.

For more information and events, visit Abu Dhabi Festival’s website.