On Saturday 23 March the Cairo Symphony Orchestra will give a concert of works inspired by Egypt.
The programme will begin with the Egyptian March by Johann Strauss II. Strauss' interest in thematic content related to Egypt is attributed to the fact that the composition celebrates the opening of the Suez Canal in November 1869, yet it was not performed during the opening official celebrations.
The next composition will be La Mort de Cléopâtre (Death of Cleopatra) by Herlioz Berliz. Berlioz reached out to Ancient Egypt with a theme mirroring the general interest of Romantic musicians in Antiquity. La Mort de Cléopâtre was composed with a text by Pierre-Ange Vieillard, in 1928. Ancient themes have always been considered by visual artists and literary figures of the Romantic era.
Camille Saint-Saëns' Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 in F Major is nicknamed "The Egyptian", as it was composed during one of the frequent winter vacations that the composer spent in Egypt, specifically in Luxor's temple vicinity. Composed in 1986, critics consider this concerto as one of the "most exotic" compositions of the composer, incorporating a lot of Middle Eastern music influences.
The second half of the evening will include Egyptian Nights Op. 61, a symphonic suite by Sergey Prokofiev. Composed in 1934, the origins of the Egyptian Nights reach back to Cleopatra, an unfinished monologue by a Russian author, Alexander Pushkin who, in his turn created an amalgam of Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra and Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra. Alexander Tairov based his play titled Egyptian Nights on Pushkin's monologue and asked Prokofiev to compose incidental music for a production in 1938.
The Cairo Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Julian Clayton from the UK.
Soloists for the evening will be soprano Dalia Farouk and pianist Magda Emara.
Saturday 23 March at 8pm
Cairo Opera House main hall, Zamalek