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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Opera singer Hassan Kami's treasure trove of books to be saved by Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Kami left behind a fortune of old books and manuscripts in his bookstore, where he spent most of his days over the past few years

Mohammed Saad , Monday 24 Dec 2018
Hassan Kami
Hassan Kami in his book shop
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Egypt's Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) has announced that it has signed a contract to buy all the books and rare manuscripts that opera singer Hassan Kami left behind after his death in his book store 'Al-Mostashrik' (The Orientalist).

Kami, who was one of Egypt's most famous Opera singers, died on 14 December, leaving behind a fortune of old books and manuscripts in his bookstore, where he spent most of his days over the past few years.

After Kami's death many people expressed their fears over the fate of his bookstore, especially after his lawyer publically said that the opera singer had sold him his bookstore and villa, a claim that has been denied by the family and legal inheritors.

As per the contract signed by the BA, the bookstore's contents will be handed over to the Bibliotheca after all legal proceedings on the inheritance are complete.

Both parties have agreed to create an inventory of the belongings and the inheritors will decide which books and manuscripts they are willing to sell or donate to the Bibliotheca.

Kami's legal inheritors expressed their desire to keep the contents of the bookstore open to the public through that deal.

Kami, a descendant of the Muhammad Ali dynasty, was born on 2 November 1936 in Cairo and went to the Jesuit School, followed by Cairo University to study law. He joined the Cairo Conservatory right after its opening in the 1950s.

Passionate about culture in general and the opera in particular, Kami, a remarkable tenor, began his singing career in 1963 when he performed in Aida at the Khedivial Opera House, which went on to burn down in 1971.

He also performed in other operas in theatres across the former USSR, as well as in numerous other countries around the globe, performing in a total of 240 operas. He also served as the Cairo Opera House's artistic director in the 1990s.

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