An artistic tribute was paid to the victims of the deadly August 4 explosion on Sunday at an iconic cultural site that received its own share of damage and destruction.
Live and pre-recorded songs were played in the gardens of the Sursock Palace, where the portraits of the more than 190 people whose lives were taken by the explosion were displayed, each above a lit candle.
The portraits and names of the victims were also broadcast on television, while a 250-strong chorus, consisting of choir singers from around Lebanon, accompanied by an orchestra, performed Muslim and Christian religious chants.
“To be able to mourn, to take the time to really remember, it was important to have this moment of music,” artistic director Jean-Louis Mainguy told AFP.
The musical event, which was streamed online and broadcast on TV without allowing an on-site audience, was kicked off with an interpretation of legendary Lebanese singer Fairouz‘s iconic tribute song to the Lebanese capital, “Li Beirut.”
In an extension of the concert’s atmosphere, the organizers asked Beirut residents to light candles on their balconies or windows in commemoration of those who were killed by the blast.
The concert was initially set to take place at Beirut Port, but its location was changed to Sursock Palace in the wake of the fire that recently broke out in the Port, affecting the air quality in its surrounding area.
The Sursock Palace, which dates back to the 19th century, is located in the heart of Achrafieh, Beirut, and was severely damaged by the port explosion last month.
Its windows were blown to pieces, its ceiling bore many holes from the flying debris, and its interior, with its valuable furniture, paintings, antiquities, and historical charm, was torn by the massive shockwave.
Sunday marked the 48th day since the tragic event, which is still fresh in the minds of countless people who experienced the harrowing effects of one of history’s biggest non-nuclear explosions.