|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
31 Jan. - 6 Feb. 2002
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
OPENING on 2 February and ending on the 16th, the first round of Arabic Perspective, an annual music festival devoted to the more serious aspects of Arab music, will be headed by the director of the Cairo Opera House, Samir Farag, writes Reham El-Adawi.
The music will be selected and performed by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Ahmed El-Saedi. The festival will feature symphonies, chamber music concerts and piano recitals, featuring, among other ensembles, the Damascus String Quartet. All of the music performed is the work of Arab composers, including Tarek Ali Hassan, Walid Gholmieh and Tawfik El-Basha. Six Arab countries are participating: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria; three conductors -- Taha Nagui from Egypt, Amin Khoudier from Algeria and Mohamed Osman Sadeq from Iraq -- will take part alongside El-Saedi. Soloists include Wael Farouk, Hassan Mo'yaz and Ghazwan Zerkali.
Egyptian spleandoursAN EXHIBITION of Egyptian artefacts will tour 12 museums in the United States and Canada starting next April. The exhibition, will last two years, will include 143 artefacts representing various periods of Egyptian history. They will be culled from the different museums and Ministry of Culture storehouses, Gaballa Ali Gaballa, secretary- general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) announced. Special attention will be paid, he said, to security regulations.
The exhibition is expected to include statues of King Amenhotep, King Tuhutmose III, Queen Hatshepsut, the god Osiris and the goddess Isis. It is hoped that the exhibition will renew interest in Egyptian culture and history and give a boost to the tourist industry which has yet to recover from the events of 11 September.
Jerusalem talesAT THE National Palestinian Theatre in East Jerusalem the latest Palestinian film production is being screened. Directed by Akram Al-Safdi, Qisas minal-Quds (Stories from Jerusalem) tells the stories of three real-life characters whose connection with the city reveals aspects of the characters', and the director's, love for it, touching on the vexed issue of the future of Palestinians there. The first character is a Muslim pilgrim from Chad who, on visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque after performing the pilgrimage to Mecca, settled in Jerusalem. The second is the opera singer Reem Telmahi, who settled in the occupied town of Shafa Omar, north of Jerusalem, in 1984. And the third is Farouk Al-Dezdar, the descendant of an illustrious Turkish family whose large house in Jerusalem has been converted into a restaurant.
Glorious revivalTHE DESIGNS for replanning the Opera Square complex, downdown, are nearing completion, Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced this week. He explained that the new plans are conceived as part of the ongoing project for the revival of Islamic Cairo, the Opera Square being, as it were, the twilight zone connecting the Islamic and modern parts of the city. The space occupied by the old opera house, which burned down in 1972, will be used to build a new opera house; the choice now facing the Ministry is whether to recreate the old building or design a new one.
Sufi tunesSTARTING last Monday at Beit Al-Harrawi and continuing for five days in Ismailia, Sharqiya, Mansoura and Damietta, a series of performances by the Indian Qawali Troupe offers Egyptians the opportunity to come in contact with this remarkable Sufi art form. Different as it may be from Arab Sufi chanting, the word Qawali is derived from the Arabic "qawl" (saying); the art form, which aims for the same state of wajd and often incorporates Arabic quotations from the Qur'an and Hadith, represents the development of Sufi artistic practice in the Indian subcontinent.
Songs of laughterA CASSETTE production company last week concluded a deal with comedy star Adel Imam to record songs from his current play, Body Guard, producing the first ever album by Imam. The actor is known to have rejected such offers throughout his long career on the stage and in the cinema. To be released at the start of summer, the cassette will comprise five songs to which actress Sherine Seifennasr has also contributed.
Belated honourTHE SULTAN Bin Ali Al-Uwies Foundation announced last week that its seventh (2001-2002) award for intellectual and scientific achievement went to the Kuwaiti magazine Al-Arabi. The award, Abdel- Hamid Ahmed, the secretary general of the foundation declared in a press conference, comes in recognition of the magazine's "pioneering contribution to the more serious and sedate aspects of Arab culture, its role in spreading [intellectual] awareness among citizens throughout the Arab World over more than four decades and it status as a leading vehicle of civilisation and enlightenment in a wide variety of fields."
Omani screensTHE SECOND Muscat Film Festival opened last Sunday with several Egyptian films participating -- not all of them recent releases, however. Among these are Nur El-Sherif's directorial debut, Al-Ashiqan (The Lovers), Nagi El-Ali, as well as Radwan El-Kashef's Al-Sahir (The Magician) .
El-Sherif will also be honoured at the festival. This year's jury includes Madkour Thabet, the director of the censorship bureau.
Folk iconLAST Wednesday the Folk Arts Commission at the Supreme Council for Culture honoured the theatre director Abdel-Rahman El- Shafie for his 30-year long contribution to the folk arts. Critic Gaber Asfour, the secretary general of the Council, shared the podium with such figures as Farouk Khourshid, Safwat Kamal, Ahmed Mursi, Shamseddin El-Haggagi and Osama Abu-Taleb, head of the National Centre for Theatre. Present at the event were theatre artists Ahmed Maher, Aziza Rashed, Riyad El-Khouli, Hadi El- Gayyar and Fatma Sarhan -- all of whom collaborated with El-Shafie.
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