Al-Ahram Weekly Online   16 - 22 January 2003
Issue No. 621
Culture
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Institute sounds

Iman El-Bahr Darwish THE ARABIC Music Institute's season opened on Saturday at the Opera House with the popular singer Medhat Saleh, accompanied by pianist Amr Selim and the Abdel-Halim Nuweira Orchestra for Arabic Music, conducted by Salah Ghobashi.

Opera House director Samir Farag announced that the programme will include a concert every Thursday featuring classic songs performed by singers from both Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world. They include Iman El-Bahr Darwish, Mohamed Tharwat, Amal Maher and Abu- Sherif. The goal of these concerts, Farag said, is to enliven and protect the musical heritage.

The Arabic Music Institute now incorporates one museum in which the late composer Mohamed Abdel-Wahab's collection is kept, a display of antique musical instruments and an extensive library of books, musical references, encyclopaedias and music histories.

Early screens

THE CINEMA department of the Supreme Council of Culture (SCC) is celebrating the centenary of Egyptian cinema at the SCC's headquarters in a week long event that ends on Saturday. The opening ceremony featured addresses by Ahmed El-Hadari, programme coordinator, as well as Samir Farid and Gaber Asfour, committee secretary and SCC secretary- general, respectively. Screenings of films take place at six and nine pm every day, including all but forgotten titles featuring some of Egypt's earliest actors.

Classic lines

CLASSICS of International Theatre, the one-time series of books combining the text of a classic play, in translation, with extensive commentary -- is to undergo a reincarnation in the next few months.

To be undertaken by the original publisher, the National Centre for Theatre, with the support of Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, the project was announced during a reception held at Al-Hanager Theatre on Monday. Presided over by Centre director Osama Abu-Taleb, the event featured actor Hisham Abdel-Hamid as well as a performance by the Sharara sextet.

Ricci, Hosni

MINISTER of Culture Farouk Hosni flew to Florence this week to attend a reception organised by fashion designer Stephano Ricci who has used one of Hosni's paintings as the basis for a printed silk shawl. The reception also featured the launching of a new Italian magazine concentrating on Egyptian topics and entitled Luxor.

Changing fair?

THE HIGHER committee drawn up by Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni to discuss details of the upcoming, 35th round of the Cairo Book Fair (to open on 23 January) has finally settled on a main symposium topic: "Egypt in a changing world". Subjects under discussion, to which government officials, writers and public figures will contribute, include democratic reform, women's issues and the future of the young.

This news was announced following a meeting of the committee at the General Egyptian Book Organisation (GEBO) headquarters last Tuesday. GEBO director Samir Sarhan also announced that the founding conference of the Arab Council for Children, to be headed by Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, is to take place during the course of this year's fair. The Book Fair Awards, he added, will this year be expanded to include six awards for Arab, non-Egyptian writers and thinkers in addition to the usual prizes awarded to local talents.

Surour at Hanager

SINGER Ali El-Haggar has joined the cast of Al-Hanager's next production of the late Naguib Sorour's Menin Agib Nas (Where can I get people?), a play based on the archetypal tale of Hassan and Na'ima. El-Haggar will contribute 15 live songs to the performance. Directed by Murad Mounir, the production will star Ahmed Maher and Liqaa El-Khamisi.

Sans belly dancers

DOCUMENTARY filmmaker Nabiha Lutfi is currently at work on a documentary on Mohamed Ali Street. The film was originally to be funded by Egyptian television but has been relegated to the National Centre for Cinema.

An expert on the history of Cairo, novelist Gamal El-Ghitani undertook the necessary research for the film which depicts the transformation of Mohamed Ali Street from Cairo's principal centre of night life to a venue for selling furniture and books.

Lutfi has completed shooting and is now editing the film.

Best friends?

DIRECTOR Khaled Youssef is said to be in the process of preparing for a new film, Al-Mushir wa Al-Ra'is (The General and the President) depicting the relationship between Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Hakim Amer. Mamdouh El-Leithi's script, which is bound to spark controversy, will open with the start of their friendship in 1938 and end with the latter's death in 1967.

By Amina Elbendary

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