Art Alert: Swan Lake ballet to return to Cairo, Alexandria

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Feb 2016

Cairo Opera Ballet Company will give matinee and soiree performances of the famed Swan Lake

Swan Lake
A scene from Swan Lake, by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

Swan Lake, the well known ballet and a centerpiece in the repertoire of many ballet troupes, will return to the stage of the Cairo Opera House, between 22 and 26 February. The ballet will be then performed at the Alexandria Opera House on 1 and 2 March.

Swan Lake has been performed by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company on many occasions between 1991 and 2003. After 2003, Swan Lake was no longer staged at the Cairo Opera House, until 2011 when it was practically rebuilt from scratch, being the first work performed by the company after the January 25 Revolution.

With Erminia Kamel as artistic director and Abdel-Moneim Kamel as director, the 2011 performance's challenge lied in recreating the work with a company that lost many of its foreign dancers, as most of the foreign artists left Egypt at that time.

The work returned to the stage again in 2012, shortly after the death of the company's then director Abdel-Moneim Kamel.

The ballet is now being revived by Erminia Kamel, the company's current artistic director, following Abdel-Moneim Kamel's vision.

With music by Tchaikovsky, the choreographers base the ballet’s four acts on Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, as this is the version considered to have reached absolute perfection and beauty. They are, however, invited to add their own touches to acts 1 and 3 where there is room for variations. In those acts in particular Abdel-Moneim Kamel’s choreography is most obvious.

Kamel's creativity is especially apparent in a bridge created between acts 3 and 4, a segment that he painted to ressemble a five-minute long dream or a flashback of the whole story. Fully choreographed by Kamel, the bridge is based on two pieces of music drawn from other parts of the ballet. 

At Petipa’s time, the performance was almost four hours long. Further stagings tended to remove some parts to make the ballet more concise. The current version is just two and a half hours long.

During the evenings the Cairo Opera Orchestra will be conducted by Nayer Nagui. The matinee performance is to recorded music.

22, 24, 25, 26 February at 8pm
23 February at 11am and 8pm
Cairo Opera House

1 and 2 March at 8pm
Alexandria Opera House

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