Egypt's Culture Minister Ines Abdel Dayem, the Cairo Opera House president Magdy Saber and the Arab Music Festival and Conference manager Jihan Morsi celebrate the honoring of composer Helmy Bakr amid the opening ceremony of a challenging 29th edition held in strict safety measures due to COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: Cairo Opera House)
Egypt celebrated the opening of the 29th edition of the Arab Music Festival and Conference on a cool fall night on Sunday at the Fountain open-air theatre, Cairo Opera House.
The opening was attended by tens of arts and culture figures led by culture minister Ines Abdel Dayem who stressed carrying on the message of founder Ratiba El-Hefny in preserving the nation's heritage even amid such exceptional challenges.
Abdel Dayem honoured 12 personalities who have contributed to the enrichment of artistic life in Egypt and the Arab world, including members of Ammar El-Sherie's band El-Asdeqaa; Mona Abdel-Ghani, Hanan and Alaa Abdel-Khaleq, composer Yahya Mahdi, violinists Mahmoud Othman and Mohamed El-Qotb, Nai player Mohamed Abdel Nabi, professor Magda Abdel-Samei, name of singer Maher El-Attar, calligrapher Mostafa Amri, and poet Bakhit Bayoumi who recited a new poem at the ceremony.
Amid the honouring of acclaimed composers Helmy Bakr, Mohamed Sultan and Gamal Salama, the ensemble of conductor Selim Sahab accompanied many singers in some of the trio's memorised works.
Mohamed Ya Rasoul Allah, El-Masreyeen Ahomma, Ommy, El-Modon, Fakrah, Ya Reitak Maaya, Masafat, Bokra Teraf and many other classics were introduced by the ensemble and performed by singers, including Nadia Mostafa, Eman Abdel-Ghany, Mai Hassan, Ahmed Ibrahim, Soma, Ayat Farouk and many others.
In Alexandria, Medhat Saleh and pianist Amr Selim, under the helm of conductor Ahmed Amer, opened the first concert where singers Agfan, Rehab Omar, Walid Hedar, and Mohamed Hassan performed.
Continuing until 10 November, the event, that survived the country's lockdown, due to the global pandemic between March and July, and was held in its scheduled annual season amid restricted safety measures, is hosting 29 concerts on various open-air stages of the Cairo, Alexandria and Damanhour opera houses, as well as conference activities in Cairo.
This year 93 musicians are participating in the festival, including 82 singers from five countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Tunisia.
Among the singers set to take the stages are Egyptians Ahmed Mohsen, Mohi Salah, Hanan Al-Khouly, Angham Mustafa, Hany Shaker, Ahmed Nafeh and Ibrahim Farouk, as well as Saber Al-Rabaei from Tunisia, Saad Ramadan from Lebanon and Humam Ibrahim from Iraq.
The event, managed by Jihan Morsi, is launching its conferences on the theme of “The Future of Arab Music -- Beyond the Crisis” from Monday to Thursday at the Cairo Opera House and is headed by Magdy Saber.
Monday night, Cairo Steps of composer Basem Darwisch and Ali Al-Helbawi, accompanied by the Cairo Opera Orchestra, conducted by maestro Nayier Naguib, will perform at the Cairo Opera before leaving the stage to singer Ali El-Haggar, accompanied by Misr Voice Orchestra, conducted by maestro Ahmed Atef.
In Alexandria, singers Nadia Mostafa, Ahmed Ibrahim, Soma, Ghada Adam, Ayat Farouk, Iman Abdel-Ghany, Ahmed Effat, Yasser Suleiman, Amira Ahmed, Maye Hassan and Sara Sahab will perform in concerts conducted by maestro Selim Sahab.
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