Art Alert: Swan Lake ballet to be performed in Cairo, Alexandria

Ahram Online , Wednesday 3 Jan 2018

With the music by Tchaikovsky, the famed ballet Swan Lake will be staged by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company

Swan Lake
Cairo Opera Ballet Company in a scene from Swan Lake. (Photo: courtesy of the Cairo Opera House)

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 10 and 13 January. The ballet will be then performed at the Alexandria Opera House on 17 and 18 January. 

The ballet will be performed by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company and the Cairo Opera Orchestra conducted by Nayer Nagui.

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. It was then performed again in consecutive years.

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.


10, 11, 12, 13 January at 8pm
Cairo Opera House

17 and 18 January at 8pm
Alexandria Opera House 

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