The adviser of the Minister of Culture, Saleh Farroukh, told Business News that the “Sultanate of Oman is interested in developing a cultural center in Beirut.” The Minister of Culture suggested Oman turn the cultural center into an opera house. According to Farroukh, the project will cost at least $50-$70 million. The Ministry of Culture also has another project underway. It is seeking to build a 15,000-square-meter National Conservatoire for Music in Dbayeh. An agreement with China has been signed for a grant of $35 million. The Conservatoire will have several music halls for training purposes as well as an amphitheatre comprised of 1,400 seats. Farroukh said that “the Chinese will prepare the design and take care of construction under the supervision of the Council for Development and Reconstruction.” The project is expected to be completed in 3 years. The National Conservatoire in Sin El Fil will remain in operation. However, the administrative department will be moved to the new location.
What about the Grand Théâtre in Beirut?
It would be amazing to see the Grand Théâtre in Lebanon in operation again. Built in 1929, the Grand Théâtre hosted international performances and movie productions throughout the years. It opened in 1929 with a French musical called ‘No, No, Nanette,’ adapted from a Broadway success. The theater also hosted the Comédie Française, the Ballet des Champs-Elysées, the Egyptian Ramses Group, and concerts by Abdel Wahab and Umm Koulthoum. The Grand Théâtre was part of a commercial center that was also comprised of a hotel, rental apartments, offices and shops. Post-war reconstruction of the mid-1990’s restored the façade of the Grand Théâtre, adapting the building for contemporary use. It was designed by Youssef Aftimos and built by Jacques Tabet.