Jeremy Irons Hosting Vangelis Concert in Qatar

[Scroll to the bottom for the photo gallery]

Around 150 VIP guests are set to enjoy what promises to be a highly memorable experience this evening, as some 500 musicians from across the globe gather to perform a selection of music by renowned Greek composer Vangelis during the opening of the Katara amphitheatre.

The opening has been organised to coincide with the 4th UN Forum on the Alliance of Civilisations being held in Doha until Tuesday, and Katara officials said that a composition had been written specially for the highly anticipated event which will be attended by forum delegates, including heads of states and ministers from around the world.

Tonight’s performance will be hosted by Oscar-winning actor, Jeremy Irons, who will introduce Vangelis’ three-part Choral Fantasy, while light artist Gert Hof paints the skies over the newly-opened arena.

Fellow Oscar-winner, Vangelis, best known for his work on film scores such as Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner, is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of electronic music, and he has been chosen for the event to combine the historical aspect and tradition of the Greek amphitheatre and the forward thinking and modern aspects of Katara as a cultural institution.
The first part of the concert will be played by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, combining improvisation with European classical orchestra sequences, while the orchestra will join with the Yurlov Moscow State Academic Choir and highly renowned Soprano, Angela Gheorghiu to perform the second section of the evening.

The third act will feature tenor, Roberto Alagna alongside Gheorghiu before a finale of Vangelis’ greatest hits and Child of Hope, to be performed by the Qatar Philharmonic Children’s Choir.
Chief conductor for the evening will be Gennady Dmitryak, alongside music director and conductor, Yvan Cessar.

President of Katara, Abdulrahman al-Khulaifi expressed his excitement ahead of the opening: “It is an incredible honour to announce the grand opening of Katara’s amphitheatre. Since opening, Katara has not only provided a platform for aspiring artists and musicians but also introduced Qatar to world renowned musicians and performers.”

“As home to one of the largest open-air amphitheatres in the Middle East, Katara is dedicated to showcasing the diverse cultures of the world and the amphitheatre provides the perfect stage for international and local artists,” he added.

Al-Khulaifi spoke about the convergence of cultures represented by the forum taking place in Qatar, espousing similar values to Katara as a whole, where people and artists from all over the world have created an exciting and vibrant cultural hub for the region.

“Preparation for this event has taken about one year, as we wanted to make it a truly international event and to be associated with world renowned musicians,” he said, adding “this is a unique place, overlooking the sea and we are going to hear some inspiring music.”

The 4,000-seater amphitheatre will be used on a monthly basis, according to cultural director of Katara, Imad Sultan, who said that members of the public would be “thrilled” with the selection of “magnificent events” planned to mark its inauguration in the coming months.

He explained that the amphitheatre will be used less throughout the summer months because of the difficult weather conditions, but promised that the new venue will feature a selection of world-class performances over the coming year.

“This is celebrating an important milestone for Katara and I am certain that people will enjoy the series of magnificent events to come,” said Sultan.

“The performance will incorporate electrifying and awe-inspiring art and film projected on a large screen, accompanied with lights and pyrotechnics that are sure to dazzle,” added a spokesperson for the event.

Although the event is closed to the public, officials explained that a DVD of the concert will be made available by Katara in the future.

Some photos via

A review of the concert from

Greek composer Vangelis’s has “appeared” in the capital tonight to give Catar that does the 17 gig of his career and has agreed to it for a new job, a cry of hope that he has engaged in epic wind, rail “bridge” between “the West and the Muslim world.”

Odyssey Papathanassiou Evanghelos (Volos, 1943) is by his stage name, the hyper-known author of soundtracks for films like “Chariots of Fire,” “Blade Runner” or “1492” and his powerful and popular bars dedicated not only part the concert, but that has opted in his “Choral Fantasy”, which was accompanied by the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorgiu.

The actor Jeremy Irons, dressed in a tunic halfway between the priest of “The Mission” and his character in the Borgia, was the presenter of the show, chaired by the wife of the Emir, Sheikha Moza, and attended by dozens of guests the fourth forum of the Alliance of Nations, held in Doha.

“This is an evening of great significance. In the sky full of stars, audiences worldwide will see the art we know as global communication, which upholds human differences and what they have in common “he assured Irons.

The actor was referring not only to the holding of the forum but have spread to DVD and CD as the director of “Chariots of Fire ‘, Hugh Hudson, made for Decca from what you have recorded tonight at the Katara amphitheater, the world’s largest Muslim seats 5000.

Vangelis, who has remained seated throughout the concert in the top tapping their keyboards, accepted the invitation of the state to prospect and Katara Foundation of conceiving, designing, conducting and composing music for the event, which also opened the amphitheater.

The composer and “multi instrumentalist”, a nomad who has lived in several countries, avoid like the plague public appearances, rarely gives interviews and hates to outbreaks, one of the reasons, the other is that it has an injured the leg that did not want to go down to greet the public, which has cheered at the end.

Vangelis has tried to express with this concert as “rare” as the average is one every three years, “the necessity of hope” with a composition of three distinct parts.

In the “call” Tasting Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Frenchman Yvan Cassar, who has worked for 20 years with Vangelis, “calls” interpreters of instruments from around the world, the sitar or the didgeridoo to the erhu, and mixing improvisation with elements of European classical orchestral strings, always keeping back “the rumor” of Simun in the desert.

The second part is the starring Gheorghiu, who, dressed in a flowing red dress and spectacular, plays the five movements with the Philharmonic Choir Tasting by the Moscow State Academic Yurlov.

Then Gheorghiu’s husband, the Italian tenor Roberto Alagna, sang with her, now with sequined coat and beret to the feet, the duet “Small Boheme”-respawn together after a stage of “professional distance” precisely “The Bohème “- to give way to the main theme from” Chariots of Fire “and” 1492: Conquest of Paradise. ”

The grand finale, the most applauded by the audience, which at the time of the program have begun to leave a large part of Muslim bystanders, has been the interpretation of “Katara Hymn,” sung by some 70 students from the international schools in Doha.

The actions have been accompanied by projections on a screen 150 meters long and 40 high, and at the end of the second part has been opened in the middle section, 33 by 35 meters, through which one could see March while the lights designed by Gert Hof built “domes” and effects on viewers.

The idea is that these lights are “a message of peace” into space to try to capture in a satellite photo.
This update: December 13, 2011
From the concert’s program…

The concert’s program booklet contains the following text, written by Vangelis personally:

In a little while I will be on stage in front of you to perform music that is inspired by something that I consider today, in the times in which we are living, very important – Hope.

Hope gets us through the worst of times and it is especially important now as we continue living in an increasingly troubled world. Apart from ongoing wars and modern financial disasters, humankind has been suffering from something far worse – stress and depression – which could lead to psychological devastation and serious loss of identity.

Adults are overtaken by existential issues, while children are in danger of losing their identity, due to fast growing technological advancement and lack of proper education.

Thus, I believe it is important for every country to preserve its roots and, through these roots, to cooperate with other cultures.

I therefore composed a hymn for this event called Child of Hope, which I dedicate to every one and especially to the children of the world.

I wish that this effort for peace, and others like it, do not become an utopian dream.

I would like to thank the State of Qatar and the Katara Cultural Foundation for giving me this opportunity to express in my own way this wish. I also thank my friends and my collaborators who helped me accomplish this endeavor.


from the dress rehearsal on Saturday, Angela Gheorghiu and her husband Roberto Alagna performing “Piccola Boheme”: