The 26th edition of Citadel Festival for Music and Singing was inaugurated Saturday at the historic location of Cairo's Saladin Citadel.
Organised by the Cairo Opera House, the festival will run until 26 August with two events taking place at the open air Mahka Theatre.
The opening ceremony was attended Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam, chairperson of the Cairo Opera House Ines Abdel-Dayem, and Cairo's Governor Atef Abdel Hamid, among other officials.
The evening opened with a minute of silence mourning victims of the Friday train collision that left at least 41 dead, 179 injured in Egypt's Alexandria.
Eight Egyptian artists were honoured during the ceremony: Ali Osman, late composer and conductor of Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra; Basma Saad, violinist from Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra; Abdalla Saad, theatre and opera director; harpist Manal Mohie Eldin; soprano Tahia Shams Eldin; religious chanter and composer Ahmad Abdalla; Lamia Zayed, dean of the Cairo Ballet Institute, Academy of Arts; and Hussein Badawi, former head of recitals of the Cairo Opera.
Special recognition was given to Reda Wakil, former artistic director of the Cairo Opera House and opera singer, who has greatly contributed to the nine consecutive editions of the Citadel Festival for Music and Singing.
The audience cheered when Nesma Mahgoub took the stage combining a Western and Arabic repertoire.
The annual festival draws large numbers of families from all social strata who for a nominal ticket price can enjoy concerts in a refreshing open air location surrounded by the 12th century Citadel walls.
This year the festival's line-up includes many performers known to audiences from previous years. Though in recent years the festival hosted regional and international musicians, this year it focuses on Egyptian and Egypt-based artists.
With concerts taking place daily at 8pm and 10pm consecutively, the evenings will feature Said El Artist, Ahmed Saad and his troupe, Fouad and Mounib, Ghalia Benali, Reham Abdel Hakim, El-Hadra Sufi troupe, and Mohamed Mohsen, among others.
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