New York’s Metropolitan Opera Comes to Alexandria
For the reasonable sum of EGP75, Egyptians in the comfort of their own city of Alexandria can now treat themselves to a live broadcast of any of the 10 operas to be performed this season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) has joined the Metropolitan Opera’s international transmission network. With a giant screen and high-quality stereo sound that makes the performance come live, the BA is broadcasting ten major operas live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City during the 2015-2016 season. The performances opened on 3 October with Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
Other opera performances scheduled by the Metropolitan include Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Giacomo Pucci’s Madame Butterfly.
From Beirut to Alexandria
The Sayed Darwish Theatre in Alexandria, which acts as Alexandria Opera House, has hosted on 1 October a performance by the Metro al-Madina Ensemble Misr al-Ishrinaat (Egypt in the Twenties), sponsored by with Lebanese Consulate in Alexandria. Over two hours steeped in nostalgia, the ensemble performed songs that had been popular in Egypt during the 1920s and much later. Many of these have their roots in Egyptian folklore, among them Hassan Ya Kholi al-Geneina (Hassan the Gardener), Mashrabsh al-Shai (I Don’t Drink Tea), Khaleeh Yitgawaz ya Bahiya (Let Him Marry, Bahia) and Ya Mustafa. About nine musicians, singers and actors participated in the performances. The ensemble was conducted by Hisham Gabr who in 2013 initiated the performances which met with huge success.
Tree of the Heart
Egypt’s al-Nour wal-Amal (The Light and the Hope) Chamber Orchestra is formed of 42 blind women and had gained world renown for their stunning musical performances. They recently joined a number of Egyptian musicians to perform Ayaam wa Layaly Shagarat al-Qalb (Days and Nights of the Tree of the Heart) by the French-Algerian composer Tarek Bin Waraqa, an 80-minute musical. The performance featured the Egyptian Paris-based tenor Ragaa al-Din in the role of Nour, Soprano Dalia Fadel in the role of Amal, Assem Nagaty in the role of the storyteller, conductor Muhammed Saad Basha and a contemporary dance troupe. The team also includes stage director Gilbert Désveaux, set and costume designer Alain Lagarde, and choreographer Adriana Mortelliti.
Al-Nour Wal Amal orchestra was formed by the NGO that carries the same name and which was founded back in 1954 by Istiqlal Radi; it was the first association in the Middle East to offer care, help, education, and vocational training to blind girls and women. The group’s international performances have won them large acclaim across five continents and countless countries. During their many tours they have been dubbed “The fourth pyramid of Giza,” “The human miracle,” and “The ambassadors of Egypt.” Today, the musicians are conducted and trained by Ali Osman who usually joins the orchestra in all Egyptian and international performances.
Nancy sings for the children
On 15 October, the popular Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram will sing at the Sayed Darwish Theatre in Alexandria during the opening ceremony of Alexandria International Film Festival’s 12th round. The proceeds of the opening night—tickets are being sold at EGP200, 300, and 500, will go to the benefit of needy children in Alexandria.
Ajram, together with the pop singers Kazem al-Saher and Tamer Hosni, is on the jury of “The Voice Kids”, a new children talent show to be launched shortly in Egypt.
4 October 2015