On Sunday, 25 February, newly-named chairman of the Cairo Opera House Magdy Saber granted Paolo Sabbatini, director of the Italian Cultural Institute and cultural counsellor of the Italian Embassy, the honorary title of an artistic advisor to the Opera House.
The ceremony, which was held at the Opera House, was attended by an array of notables, including Minister Counsellor of the Italian Embassy Stefano Catani, Premier Counsellor at the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Egypt Roger Chakkal, the Italian Cultural Insititute cultural events administrator and head of translation section, Manal Bakite Habib, members of the Italian community in Egypt, and renowned artist Farid Fadel.
The ceremony began with a speech by Magdy Saber tracing the long and distinguished Italian contribution to the artistic activities of the Cairo Opera House that includes the presence of Italian artists who are working at the institution, such as the Cairo Opera choir master Aldo Magnato, artistic director of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company Erminia Kamel, and principal conductor of the Cairo Opera Orchestra David Crescenzi, as well as Italian ballerinas.
Saber mentioned that Italian cooperation is not only on the artistic level but also financial. The speech was followed by bestowing upon Sabbatini the opera shield of recognition.
In his speech, Sabbatini disclosed that he studied piano as well as singing, sharing a funny incident that happened when he first met the former chairman of the Opera House and current Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem:
“This was in February 2014 when I visited Ines Abdel-Dayem in her office. We were discussing the cultural cooperation between the institute and the Opera and suddenly I saw a piano so I told her that pianists can’t help clicking the ivory on seeing a piano. She urged me to play and immediately brought her flute and started playing, too. In this moment, I felt I am in my second home.”
Sabbatini thanked Saber for the honorary post and praised the support of Italian Ambassador to Egypt Giampaolo Cantini.
Sabbatini told Ahram Online that topping his agenda will be organising artistic events in Egypt’s remote areas and governorates, such as Aswan, Luxor, Assuit, Minya, Ismailia and Port Said.
He added that one of the upcoming cultural activities to be organised by the Italian Institute is an Italian, Chinese and Arabic calligraphy exhibition scheduled to be held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 9 September.
L-R: Catani, Chakkal, Sabbatini, Saber (Photo: Ayman Barayez)
L-R: Manal Habib, Magdy Saber and Sabbatini (Photo: Ayman Barayez)