The third episode of 'This Is Not a Concert' features soprano Dina Iskander performing ‘If I Loved You,’ a Broadway show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.
"I invite you to my house to sing some songs for you. Hopefully it will make you feel a bit better and lighten up the mood we are all in," Iskander says in the introduction to the episode.
An adjunct professor at the American University in Cairo (AUC), where she has taught for 15 years, soprano Dina Iskander is also a founder and director of the AUC Opera Ensemble.
"I'll present to you three songs, one of them being 'If I Loved You'. There is no occasion when we cannot talk about love, where love doesn't matter. This song talks about a lost opportunity [of love]," Iskander explains, adding that the general lockdown is a chance for us to think about all the love we can show to others.
The episode presents one song in which Dina is accompanied by pianist, conductor and composer Nayer Nagui on piano.
The listeners are invited to the upcoming performances where Iskander will present two more songs, followed by other musicians from the AUC showcasing their repertoire from home.
'This is Not a Concert' series was initiated by John Baboukis, a Cairo-based American professor and director of the Music Programme at the AUC, who also presented the first two episodes of the project AUC Center for the Arts YouTube channel.
While being a voice coach at the AUC's Department of the Arts, Iskander shares a lot of passion for the AUC Opera Ensemble, where her responsibilities go far beyond voice coaching. Through her work on the performances, she is in charge of the many aspects of the final production, including the mise-en-scene and choice of scenography elements.
The ensemble had its first successful show in December 2018, followed by another one in 2019. The plans include continuing its activities with performances taking place on an annual basis.
Embracing the voice students at the AUC, the ensemble also welcomes young talents from outside the university premises. Not limited to being just a vocal talent show, the ensemble aims to educate the students as well as the audience in the art of opera and Western classical music at large, while creating an opportunity for the students to perform solos and/or ensembles from different operas.
Outside the Department of the Arts, soprano Dina Iskander is an already accomplished opera singer, with performances at the Cairo Opera House and solos with the Cairo Celebration Choir. She has also held numerous recitals on renowned Egyptian stages.
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