Qatar - France Year of Culture 2020 opens to French classical rhythms

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Doha: Under the leadership of its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) held the opening concert of Qatar-France Year of Culture 2020 at the Katara Cultural Village, Opera House, on Friday evening.
Each year since 2012, QM has collaborated with different nations to produce a specially curated Year of Culture, promoting mutual understanding across borders while providing opportunities for the people of each nation to encounter and appreciate one another’s creativity. 
In its 9th annual programme, the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture aims to build a stronger, more sustainable already existing deep ties between the two friendly nations to produce a series of remarkable and exciting experiences.
And the Marc Piollet lead Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) performing a compelling programme of French classics was a apt opening act to the 2020 Qatar-France Year of Culture.
His Excellency Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al‑Kawari, Minister of State, and His Excellency Franck Gellet, Ambassador of France to Qatar introduced the opening concert. VIP attendees included Ahmad Al Namla, CEO of QM and other important guests.
Privileged to be a part of a specially invited group of media personnel, I was delighted to witness Marc Piollet, one of the most exciting and versatile conductors of his generation lead the QPO in a compelling programme of French classics.
Marc Piollet has held respected positions at a number of leading opera houses around the world and has conducted acclaimed performances of Wagner’s complete Ring and new productions including Don Carlos, Elektra, Falstaff, Faust, Fidelio and Tosca.
With Lise de la Salle on the piano, QPO performed Camille Saint-Saëns’ Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 best known as one of his most popular piano concertos, followed by Hector Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique, Op. 14, an iconic programme symphony that tells the story of an artist's love for a beautiful woman -much to the delight of music lovers gathered to witness the melodious evening.
The concert witnessed a huge round of applause for a memorable performance of Doha Secrets Symphony by Qatari composer Haamed Hussein Naama. The Doha Secrets Symphony symbolises His Highness The Father Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s vision for the state of Qatar from its birth to its present place in the world.
His Excellency Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al‑Kawari, Minister of State, commented, “Since the programme was established in 2012, it was clear to us, that the French Republic – with its distinctive cultural position on the world’s map and the heritage of its civilization – would be an ideal partner nation. As we officially launch this edition, we are confident that it will be both successful and distinctive.”
The Honorable Franck Gellet, Ambassador of the Republic of France to the State of Qatar, remarked,  “2020 is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate the strength, depth and dynamism of the relationship of friendship and partnership that unite our two countries through culture and art which are the common language amongst communities and societies of the world. For Qataris, it will be an opportunity to better understand our dynamism of creativity and our cultural institutions, and, for the French, to explore Qatar’s culture, history and ambitions. I look forward to the participation of all friends of France and Qatar in the success of Qatar - France 2020.”
Commenting on the opening, Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Head of Year of Culture at QM said, “We are incredibly excited to kick-start another edition of the Year of Culture programme. Qatar-France 2020 will include a series of exhibitions, festivals and events, which will be held in both nations over the next twelve months. We hope that the initiative will help to strengthen the already well-established ties which Qatar and France share, and create platforms where ideas, thoughts and appreciation can be exchanged in a spirit of openness and collaboration.” 
The Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture, sponsored by Qatar Airways, was planned in collaboration with leading institutions in Qatar and France, including the Embassy of Qatar in France, the Embassy of France in Qatar, Qatar's Ministry of Culture and Sport, Qatar Foundation, The National Tourism Council, Doha Film Institute, Qatar National Library, Katara, Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy and Qatar Football Association.