The Universal Exhibition of Milan

Prestige issue 268, November 2015

Milan exhibition by Marie-Jeanne Asmar

The Universal Exhibition of Milan was enthusiastic about the Lebanese wine and the show of Caracalla.

If the Lebanese pavilion at the World Expo in Milan «Feeding the Planet», present between more than 135 countries has been successful, it owes it undoubtedly, to the talent and expertise of its citizens highlighted among others thanks to the Lebanese Economy Minister Alain Hakim who during these 184 days, wanted to promote and support the Lebanese economy in all its sectors.

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The band Caracalla, omnipresent at the Universal Exhibition of Milan. © Ministère de l’économie et du commerce

On June 17th we attended with pleasure the concert of Alain Manoukian, accompanied by his orchestra. His «Harem»on the Mediterranean bio-cluster place delighted us. For me it was a great discovery for it was the first time I attended his show and heard him. A real treat!

When I received the invitation for September 24thfor a party «Poems, opera and wine», I was very happy. My expectation was not disappointed. Under a starry sky, the night was beautiful. In the presence of the Consul of Lebanon in Milan, Walid Haydar, after a word of welcome spoken by Alia Abbas, General Director of Ministry of Economy and Commerce facing an audience of Lebanese personalities, foreign and Italian … we enjoyed the words of poet Talal Haidar who recited rhymes of rare beauty. Next, with the courage of someone who trusts his qualities, his talent, on Italian soil, Eliya Francis, with his tenor voice sang Italian, French, Spanish opera pieces … and he was successful because many visitors of the exhibition stopping to listen while passing, did not want to leave. After poetry, songs, painting by Jamal Kadamani who painted on site, we expected the Lebanese wine. It was represented by Zafer Chaoui, president of the wine growers union in Lebanon and CEO of Ksara has stressed in his speech the importance of the Lebanese wine: «Despite the difficult trials through which passes Lebanon, the wine industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last twenty years, from 8 wine producers at the end of the civil war to 40 today.»

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Zafer Chaoui, president of the wine growers union in Lebanon and CEO of Ksara stressed in his speech, the development of the Lebanese wine industry and its valuation by global experts. © Ministère de l’économie et du commerce.

He also said that «the Lebanese wine was able to become ambassador of Lebanon since it traveled to over 30 countries around the world where it was appreciated in an outstanding way by world experts. In the last five years, the Lebanese wine drew large profits in the United Kingdom, France and the United States.»

Before inviting those present to enjoy the Lebanese wine during its day, Chaoui concluded by saying: «We are present today in Milan to promote Lebanese wine, known to be the emblem of civilizations and of hospitality for over 3000 years. The Lebanese wine is now a cultural and economic ambassador for this small corner of the world. We are still at the beginning of a long way since we now produce about 9 million bottles, which is small relative to global standards. That is why our wine should be unique, each bottle hiding a message of warmth and generosity of the Lebanese.»

Nobody that night stayed away from the pleasure of drinking red wine, white or rosé … thinking about September 26, the show presented on the occasion of the Lebanese national day as part of the expo, which closes its doors on October 31st … A show signed Caracalla with the title The Thousand and One Nights.

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© Ministère de l’économie et du commerce

The show of Arabian Nights Caracalla, Shimmering and alive, was the highlight of the World Expo.

Really a nice surprise prepared by the organizing committee for this day that began, as a member of the cabinet of the Minister of Economy told me, by the raising of the flag near the Lebanese pavilion in the presence of officials and the apotheosis at the end was with Caracalla. I waited for them with some curiosity, I have known them for a long time, if they had changed, whether I would be disappointed … not at all! On the stage of the auditorium of the exhibition, in front of numerous spectators, after the national anthem and the welcome speech of the Minister of Economy Alain Hakim, it was a fusion of colors, paintings full of poetry. The dancers were beautiful. Congratulations to new choreographers Alissar and Yvan Caracalla family, the art director and costume design Abdel Halim Caracalla. In the first part of the show,

We were delighted by the splendid representation of Arabian Nights with music by Maurice Ravel and Rimsky Korsakov. In the second part of the show the Lebanese immigrants in Italy were delighted to hear the singer Hoda, the singer Joseph Azar, to see the troupe show off in a dabke and Omar Caracalla masterfully perform the traditional dance of the sword…

Leaving the show I was very proud of our national dance troupe especially on hearing the comments of Italians who were amazed to have seen so many sensuality, beauty and bravery … It would be wonderful if they returned occur on a large Italian scene. Alissar Caracalla told me it would please them well. And I say: sure success!