Al-Ahram Weekly Online   30 April - 6 May 2009
Issue No. 945
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Pack of cards

Beauty of Belarus

For four consecutive days, the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet of the Republic of Belarus, accompanied by the Cairo Opera Orchestra and conducted by Russian maestro Nikolai Kolyadko, presents Spartacus ballet at the Cairo Opera House Main Hall. Russian composer Khachaturyan's masterpiece which he wrote in 1954 is a three-act ballet choreographed by Valentin Elizariev with costumes and décor designed by Eugeny Lysik. Ayman Barayez was ready at the performance with his camera. The ballet that features around 100 dancers is due to be presented tonight at Sayed Darwish Theatre, Alexandria.

During their short visit to Egypt Vice-President of Spain Mar’a Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Moratinos, President of the Cervantes Institute Carmen Caffarel, along with Director of Cervantes Institute of Cairo Javier Ruiz met with 24 Egyptians who use the Spanish language at work. They talked with them about the increasing appeal of the Spanish language among Egyptians and the development of the language over the past 50 years. Among participants in the meeting were the deans of Al-Alsun faculties in Minya and Ain Shams universities, and eight heads of Spanish language departments at Egyptian universities, as well as a number of translators and professors of Spanish.

The Garden City Lions Club (GCLC) presided over by Awatef Serageddin held a thrilling seminar at the Cairo Capital Club, discussing the country's efforts in supporting and funding youth projects. Head of the Social Fund for Development Hani Seif El-Nasr was the keynote speaker in the seminar. Former minister of development Yehia El-Gamal, constitutional law professor Tharwat Badawi, media figure Soheir Shalabi and members of the GCLC Bahiya Youssef and Samiha Hamdi were among the attendees.

photos: Ayman Barayez

On the occasion of commemorating World Heritage Day, the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo witnessed a prestigious celebration honouring veteran writer and Al-Ahram columnist Anis Mansour. He was honoured for writing a series of articles calling for the preservation and protection of Egyptian antiquities and heritage. A galaxy of high-profile figures and ambassadors were present including the Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary- General Zahi Hawass, Moroccan Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Farag Al-Dokali, veteran archaeologist Ali Radwan, Alexandrian tycoon Hani Aziz, actress Laila Taher as well as Mona Ragab, Mansour 's daughter-in- law and Al-Ahram back page editor.

Deeply loved Nubian pop star Mohamed Mounir held a magical concert last Sunday at Smouha Club in Alexandria on the occasion of celebrating the Easter holidays. Hundreds of Mounir 's lovers flocked to Smouha Club to attend the concert and celebrate Easter to Mounir 's famous songs such as Ya Eskendria (Oh Alexandria), Younis, Fi Ishq Al-Banat (In Love of Girls), Taht Al-Yasmina (Under the Jasmine Tree), Taam Al-Beyout (Taste of the Homes). Mounir clearly enjoyed the opportunity to keep his audience entertained and in best spirit.

Al-Shemou Salon founded by book compiler Lotus Abdel-Kerim honoured publisher Mohamed Rashad and novelist Youssef Zeidan for receiving the Sheikh Zayed book award for Novel and Publishing. A bevy of high-profile figures were present such as Nisf Al-Donia magazine Editor-in-Chief Afkar El-Kharadli, Akhbar Al-Nogoum Editor-in- Chief Amal Othman, poet Ahmed El-Shahawi, actor Mahmoud Hemeida, spouse of the German Ambassador Maye Erbel, former minister of development Yehia El-Gamal as well as head of Al-Rehab Lions Club Mahmoud El-Maghrabi.

A galaxy of Arab singers and actors participated in the seventh round of the Syrian rally "Discover Syria". This year, 370 people participated in the rally, totalling 1,235km with six different stages and a number of rest houses to allow the participants to visit some of the ancient places of Syria. The rally starts from Damascus down to some places in middle and north Syria going all the way to Aleppo and the coastal mountains and ends at Al-Ladiqia. Among the participants were Lebanese TV presenter George Qerdahi, Syrian actors Zoheir Abdel-Kerim and Suzanne Negmeddin, Miss Lebanon 2007 Nadine Negeim, Egyptian actor Sameh El-Sereiti and Syrian singer Hamam Khayri.

A spectacular private screening was held for the new Lebanese musical film Celina at the Damascus Cinema House after its entire renovation by Syrian producer Nader El-Attasi. The newly released film stars veteran Syrian comedian Doreid Laham and sultry Lebanese singer Miriam Fares, in her first appearance in cinema. Celina is directed by Hatem Ali and produced by El-Attasi. The film is an adaptation of the great play Hala wal Malik (Hala and the King) where the Lebanese diva Fairouz played the leading role with the Rahbani brothers. The private screening was crowned with extensive attendance of senior state officials and high-profile figures among them were the Syrian Vice-President Nagah Al-Attar, who cut the ribbon of the opening of the renovated cinema, Syrian Minister of Culture Riyad Ghassan Agha, Syrian Minister of Tourism Saad Allah Al-Qalaa, Syrian Minister of Higher Education Ghayath Barakat, Lebanese producer Ali Fayad, veteran Syrian actress Mona Wassif, Lebanese actor Ghazi Yawakim, veteran Syrian actor Gamal Suleiman and his wife Rana.

Syrian Ambassador to Egypt Youssef Ahmed held a lavish reception at the Cleopatra Hall at the Semiramis Hotel on the occasion of celebrating Syria National Day. The reception was crowned by the presence of the Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, former foreign minister Ahmed Maher, Libyan official Ahmed Qaddafi Al-Dam, Moroccan Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Farag Al-Dokali, Saudi Ambassador Hisham Al-Nazer and his Omani counterpart Abdel-Aziz Al-Hanaai, head of the People's Assembly Foreign Relations Committee Mustafa El-Feki, Assistant to the Secretary-General of the Arab League Mohamed Sobeih, as well as veteran actor Mahmoud Yassin, singer Arkan Fouad and his wife singer Nadia Mustafa and lovely Syrian actress Jumana Mourad.

Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi launches a new regional initiative in collaboration with the European Culture Foundation and the British Council aiming at building a knowledge base to support planning and cultural cooperation in the Arab region. The first step in this initiative is to conduct an exploratory survey of the policies, legislation and practices that guide the cultural work in eight Arab countries; Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. This survey will be conducted by a group of Arab researchers from eight countries selected for their expertise in the field of cultural work and their knowledge of the status of cultural work in their countries as well as systematic research methods. A press conference is to be held to launch the cultural policies initiative at Rotana Hotel in Beirut on 3 May at 6pm. The press conference will include many important cultural figures such as Philipp Dietachmair, in charge of Cultural Policies Development programme in the European Culture Foundation, and a selection of cultural decision-makers in Lebanon in addition to official representatives from the British Council in Beirut and Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi in Cairo as well as the participating researchers and European trainers.

A galaxy of senior state officials and celebrities flocked to the Cairo Opera House Main Hall to watch the spectacular performance of the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet of the Republic of Belarus at a concert organised by the Garden City Lions Club, presided over by Awatef Serageddin. The revenues of the ballet performance were donated to the benefit of constructing an eye-treatment hospital. The performance was crowned by the presence of Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Moufid Shehab, former prime minister Abdel-Aziz Hegazi, Minister of State for Family and Population Mushira Khatab, Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Hisham Al-Nazer, Mona Gamal Abdel-Nasser as well as actresses Nabila Ebeid, Poussy, Lebleba and Laila Taher.




Al-Saher with folk drummers

photos: Abdel-Hamid Eid

A couple of days ago, concerts celebrating Easter were everywhere. Singer Mustafa Qamar held a concert at Al-Tayaran Club while singer Tamer Hosni featured in a thrilling concert in Port Said. Lebanese singer Dolly Shahine, singer Tamer Ashour and popular singer Hoda presented a series of concerts at Stella Di Mare resort in Ain Al-Sokhna, while Iraqi singer Kazem Al-Saher mesmerised his audience with a number of his most sought-after songs at the Mubarak Complex in New Cairo. Finally, the Cairo Opera House decided to celebrate Easter with talented singer Medhat Saleh and the powerful voice of Reham Abdel-Hakim who chanted together a number of classical Arab songs in the Main Hall.

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