Egypt's first musical to be performed at Oman's Royal Opera House

Ahram Online, Tuesday 13 Mar 2012

Based on a play by Tawfiq El-Hakim and previously performed in Cairo Opera House, the Broadway-style production of Praxa will be performed in Oman’s Royal Opera House on 15/16 March


Egyptt's first Broadway-style musical performed in the Arabic Language, Praxa, a Theatroe Company production, is set for a performance in Oman's Royal Opera House on 15 and 16 March.

Praxa is based on a play by late Egyptian writer Tawfiq El-Hakim, inspired by the Ancient Greek classic comedy Ecclesiazusae (Assembly Women), written by Aristophanes in 390 BC. Nader Salah El Din wrote the lyrics and is the musical’s director." The Arabic lyrics are set to the music of Egyptian composer and conductor, Hisham Gabr.

With the Ministry of Tourism's interest peaked by the musical's great success in Cairo, they tasked Ahmed Abo Zahra, Egyptian pianist and arts manager, presenting it to the Arab World and countries in the region through heavy PR.

The current production of Praxa was transformed significantly. The playback is replaced by the prime orchestra from Kazakhstan: Astana Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be conducted by Hisham Gabr. The choir consists of professional singers from the-well known choir companies with Maya Gvineria as a choir master.

The role of the protagonist, Praxa, is sung by Amira Selim, an accomplished Egyptian soprano with a remarkable career, currently living in France. Praxa’s friend and maid of honour is sung by soprano Amina Khairat, while baritone Elhami Amin plays Hieronymus, the army chief. Amr Yehia is in the role of the philosopher; Cremis is played by Khaled Ibrahim, who is also the musical’s producer.

The musical relies on many elements known to Opera Buffa (Italian comic opera), such as comic scenes, as well as very distinctly caricatured characters who sing in the local, Egyptian dialect accompanied by symphonic, yet lovely and catchy music. The production becomes a good treat, not only for sophisticated art lovers, but also for less demanding audience members.

“The show carries a number of values. One of its important successes is the fact that it managed to bridge a gap between the opera goers and the theatre lovers. The Cairo Opera House that hosted Praxa in its first performances was filled with an audience representing all generations and social strata,” comments Hisham Gabr, the composer. “Without compromising the artistic output, the musical reached and satisfied many tastes and minds, attracting people who otherwise have never entered the opera house.”

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