‘Al Faris’, the epic musical play based on the poems of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai received an enthusiastic response from audiences, with over 8,000 people attending its four shows held from January 6-9, 2016.
Al Faris was produced by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in collaboration with Rahbani Productions.
Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office Mona Al Marri said the positive response the play received from audiences encourages Brand Dubai to explore further such creative projects in Dubai. “Al Faris reflects the increasing dynamism and energy of Dubai’s cultural life and the support the city offers for creativity and innovation to flourish in various spheres of life including culture and art,” she said.
“In many ways, Al Faris represents a significant contribution to Arab musical theatre.
The play was a unique collaboration between creative and production teams in the Arab region and globally.
This joint effort brought together renowned Arab theatre icons, many talented Emiratis and creative and technical teams from across the region and the world,” added Al Marri.
She thanked the entire team behind Al Faris for their commitment to delivering a successful stage production.
Written by renowned Lebanese theatrical director Marwan Rahbani, Al Faris depicts the epic horseback journey of a knight to rescue his lady love Shomoos from her kidnapper Ghairan.
A richly allegorical fantasy play, Al Faris tells the story of a warrior’s determination to ensure his people are safe and prosperous in a world surrounded by violence and hatred.
Renowned Lebanese singer Ghassan Saliba and popular Emirati singer Balqees played the lead roles in the play.
An 800-strong cast and crew that includes actors, writers, technicians, musicians and vocalists from around the world worked to put together the stage production.
Salem Belyouha, Media Services Director in the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) and Project Manager of Al Faris said the global diversity of the production team is fitting for a cultural production emanating from Dubai.
“The team reflects the unique diversity of Dubai, which is home to people of over 200 nationalities that work and live together in peace and harmony.
While Al Faris is based on the poems of Sheikh Mohammed that are rooted in Emirati culture, the play delivers a universal message of love and peace that resonates with global audiences,” he said.
The stage show featured English subtitles for the benefit of non-Arabic speaking audiences.
Al Faris is the first time the poems of Sheikh Mohammed have been rendered into music by an international orchestra.
The music of the play, which features a medley of styles and influences, was composed by Marwan Rahbani, Ghady Rahbani and Oussama Rahbani. The recordings for the play were done in studios in Beirut and Ukraine.
Over 100 musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine performed significant parts of the musical score.
Apart from the Ukranian orchestra, more than 85 musicians of the Lebanese Symphony Orchestra contributed Arabic flavours to the score.