Egypt's Al-Nour Wal Amal blind women orchestra prepares for tour

Ahram Online , Saturday 26 Sep 2015

Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra, consisting of visually impaired women, will be joined by several Egyptian musicians in their new performance, Days and Nights of the Heart Tree, to be staged in Cairo, Paris, UAE

Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra
Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

Days and Nights of the Heart Tree is a music production that combines Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra with singers and dancers.

The music to the 80-minute long performance was composed by French-Algerian writer and composer Tarik Benouarka.

The performance is scheduled to be staged at the Cairo Opera House on 30 September, before it departs for Paris. According to press releases, the production will then travel to the United Arab Emirates.

In the Cairo performance, the orchestra will be joined by the Egyptian Paris-based tenor Ragaa El-Din in the role of Nour, soprano Dalia Fadel in the role of Amal, Assem Nagaty in the role of the storyteller, conductor Mohamed Saad Basha and a contemporary dance troupe.

In Paris, the role of Amal will be performed by renowned Syrian soprano Rasha Rizk.

The team also includes stage director Gilbert Désveaux, set and costume designer Alain Lagarde, and choreographer Adriana Mortelliti.

Al-Nour Wal Amal (Light and Hope) Chamber Orchestra consists of 40 visually impaired women. They represent Al-Nour Wal Amal Association founded in 1954 by a group of volunteers under the leadership of the late Istiklal Radi. The association was the first in the Middle East aiming at the care, education, vocational training and integration into society of blind girls and women.

In 1961, Istiklal Radi decided to expand the association's activities by incorporating music education. She contacted the late Samha El-Kholy, former president of the Academy of Arts and former dean of the Cairo Conservatory. Together, they founded the Al-Nour Wal Amal Music Institute to teach music on an academic basis.

A decade after founding of the institute, the small orchestra was formed and soon their concerts in Egypt began capturing the hearts of audiences.

In the early 1980s, and on the initiative of Amal Fikry, vice-chair of Al-Nour Wal Amal Association, the orchestra embarked on international tours.

Al-Nour Wal Amal's popularity brought them large acclaim and over the past years they were applauded across five continents and countless countries. During their many tours they were called "The fourth pyramid of Giza," "The human miracle," and "The ambassadors of Egypt."

Today, the Institute's staff consists of musicians and professors from the Cairo Conservatory, the College of Music Education of Helwan University, and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. For many years, the orchestra was trained and conducted by the late Ahmed Abul Eid.

Today, the musicians are conducted and trained by Aly Osman who usually joins the orchestra in all Egyptian and international performances. 

Check a photo gallery from Al-Nour Wal Amal's concert in Germany in 2013.

Wednesday, 30 September, 8pm
Main Hall, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek, Cairo

For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture

Short link: