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Zeina Barhoum on How Being True to Herself Has Made Her a Better Artist

Ahead of the launch of her latest album, Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum shares her singing story.

Zeina Barhoum

How did you start your career as a classical singer?
I started showing an interest in performing arts when I was 12. I performed in a school talent show and joined the choir when my teacher discovered I had the vocal range for a future career in opera, so I began vocal training. I continued my training in Rome and London.

Originally published in the April 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia

How do you feel about opera in the Arab world?
It’s been around in the Arab world for a while, with well-established opera houses in Cairo, Syria, Morocco, Oman and, more recently, Dubai. The understanding of the genre and the appreciation of it is growing. Tell us about your latest album. Alcantara means bridge. The highlight is bridging cultures with China and the Arab world through the Silk Road. The inspiration came in 2018 when I was invited to represent Jordan in the closing ceremony of the Arab Art Festival in Chengdu, China. I sang “The Dream of Silk Road” in Chinese with tenor Wang Chuanyue. The words of the song simply spoke to me and everything my message embodies.

What’s been the proudest moment of your career?
I’m proud of every achievement, but if I have to choose, it would be launching the Amman Opera Festival.

How does being Arab influence your musical career?
It can be challenging. As an opera singer, it is sometimes obligatory to act out some roles in ways that could be uncomfortable for me, but I have worked on standing out by being true to myself as an artist and a person. I pick roles that suit me and stick to my beliefs.

Zeina Barhoum will launch her latest album, Alcantara II in China, at a red-carpet event at the Al Hussein Cultural Center in Amman, Jordan, on April 4 supported by Vogue Arabia. 

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