Oman to present 'Ibn Battuta' musical at Milan Expo
July 24, 2015 | 9:03 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: 'Ibn Battuta' Musical will be staged at the Expo Milan 2015 on Saturday and Sunday.

The show will be held under the patronage of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Oman Airport Management Company, Oman Arab Bank, Oman Air and Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority.

According to Expo Milan 2015 website, “on Saturday, Expo Milano 2015 will play host to the National Day of Oman. The Sultanate will stage musical performances by the Al Majd Band, the Omani Oud Association Ensemble of the Royal Muscat Opera House and, in the evening, a concert by Ibn Battuta Musical. Plus, tasting events, guided tours of the Pavilion and a round table on the beauty and hospitality which Oman offers its tourists, will also be held.”

'Ibn Battuta', which was staged in Muscat on May 30 and 31, is a musical that brings together 180 musicians, singers, and dancers. Together they will narrate an adventurous story about a modern-day woman who goes back in time with the 14th century Moroccan explorer to retrace some of his travels through Morocco, Egypt, the Levant and Oman.

“The Arabs are not just what is all over the media about them. We also have a peaceful culture and we are trying to present it in their language, with European orchestras and a modern dance company,” said Ahmed Abouzahra, general manager of Arabesque International, the company which produced the show while he was in Muscat.

Abouzahra described 'Ibn Battuta' as a cultural journey that revealed the strength of the Arab culture in the 13th and 14th centuries when science, literature, mathematics and architectural discoveries in the Middle East were being transferred to the West.

He said the musical would also show the diversity of the Arab World, since it would bring elements of rhythm and dance from four different regions. The heart and soul of each area will be presented through music, he explained.

The musical focuses strongly on Oman, which was one of the many countries Ibn Battuta visited in his travels. Abouzahra said this will help put Oman in the international spotlight in Milan and showcase what a beautiful, peaceful nation it is.

“Our aim is to have this production as branding for Oman and as an ambassador for the Sultanate all over the attract people to come to Oman, to get to know this culture, to get to know the country, and how peaceful the society is,” said Abouzahra, and added that he hoped to present the musical in other countries after Italy.

For the extravagant production, Arabesque International has brought together the Fondazione I Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra from Italy with Egyptian and Omani musicians playing Middle Eastern instruments, the Sofia Ballet from Bulgaria, and the Antonine University Choir from Lebanon, in addition to the Lebanese National Conservatory Choir, and Al Mithaliya Group for Folklore from Oman.

Ibn Battuta stars Egypt's Adbel Rahman Abou Zahra in the title role and features soloists Rehab Omar from Egypt, Ghada Shbeir from Lebanon, and Huda Al Khanbashi from Oman.

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