Dubai: Egyptian opera singer Farra Al-Dibani, who recently moved to Geneva, received an unexpected phone call. It is April 23, just before Election Day in France. Macron’s orchestra named El-DiPani and after his victory speech at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, they were invited to play “La Marcelais” – the French national anthem – in Paris, an event watched by millions. No pressure.
I was skeptical at first. “I do not understand the extent of this phenomenon,” al-Dafani from the French capital, where he lives, told Arab News. “I walked around the room like a maniac. I was very tense. I had to arrange things quickly – also the dress.
“I was so nervous, I could not sleep,” he continues. “I got up early, got on the train to Paris and went straight to rehearsal. It was surreal. I do not know how it all happened.
She was well aware of the challenges of tackling one of the most popular tunes of all time.
“It was very scary,” Miso Soprano recalls. “I practiced constantly. I was afraid to get confused or forget a word because not only France but everyone in the world watched. I’m not French, so I can not allow for mistakes. A Frenchman can make a mistake – it’s his country and his national anthem.
Despite the short notice and pressure, the action was a success. Al-Dibani took the song for two minutes, surrounded by many Macron fans who started singing with him. And after the performance, Macron kissed Tiffany’s hand to show her respect and admiration.
“He was very kind and welcoming,” he says. “I met him before, so he knew me as a singer. And when I got on stage, I saluted him and (pointed back).
The television program was an important and symbolic cultural moment. Al-Dibani became the first foreign artist to sing the national anthem after the declaration of the presidency in France. Based on Macron’s ideology that supports social diversity, it is unlikely to be a coincidence. According to L-Tiffany, the song was last performed in 1989 by American opera legend Jesse Norman, a non-French artist, in celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution.
“This is definitely the highlight of my career,” said Al-Dibani. “It’s something unique and I will never forget it.”
His career with many highlights to choose from. In 1669 he became the first Arab artist to live at the famous Opera Nationale de Paris, founded by King Louis XIV, for which he received a three-year contract. He was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France (awarded to those who made significant contributions to the “enrichment” of French culture). Her talent took her to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the Beirut Sand Festival, the Mont Arabe Institute, Palais Garnier and the Giacometti Foundation. Known as “The Egyptian Carmen”, he sang the songs of Mozart, Beethoven, Bessette, Tchaikovsky and Rosini, along with Arabic icons including Talita, Asmahan and Fairouz.
Al-Dibani was born in 1989 in Alexandria. From the age of seven, he attended the city’s famous conservatory for piano lessons and sang in his school choir.
“I grew up in a very musical and artistic environment, and yet none of my family is a professional musician,” he says. “My parents definitely realized that I had a voice, and they still supported me.
L-Dipani’s mother is a banker and his father is an architect. At one point, Al Dibani was ready to follow in his footsteps. He went to Berlin and studied architecture and opera at two different universities.
“Studying two things at once is a big challenge,” he says. “It was a marathon and everyone around me – except my parents – told me I could never do it.”
Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas and Teresa Ferganza were the grandparents who first introduced Al Debani to opera greats.
“What I like about opera is the theater behind it,” he explained. “It’s a mixture of acting and singing. I like the (live) character. When I sing an area, I’m in a role within a moment.
“People still think opera is like shouting,” he continues. “It is very dramatic, but we do not shout; We have a technique. Using this technique, we can (multiply) these different notes or recordings. People do not understand that there are many works of art behind this song.
Al-Dibani emigrated to France in 2016 and wanted to take his life to new heights – he says it was almost impossible to return home.
“The thing is, as far as opera is concerned, I can not create real life in Egypt. Yes, I played at the Opera House in Cairo and Alexandria, but at some point when you really work in this field, you need more opportunities. ” “After all, opera is not part of Eastern or Arab culture, it is a very Western culture. There are more opportunities in Europe.
One of the reasons operas are loved all over the world is that they excite people, whether you understand the lyrics or not. “Opera does not mean to understand the text; “It’s all about the sound,” says Al-Dibani.
And protecting that sound is essential. L-Dipani avoids spicy food and drinks aniseed tea and tries to avoid talking on the days he performs. “Speech is our enemy,” he says. “It immediately makes the sound tired.”
Despite his last moment of world fame, Al Dibani was not happy with his glory. It is eager to continue its upward pace.
“My ultimate dream is to be loved by people,” he says. “The world needs more people who want to hear my voice and hear me sing. That’s what it means to be an artist. ”