Art Alert: Cairo Opera Ballet Company opens with 'Zorba'

Ati Metwaly, Wednesday 18 Sep 2013

'Zorba', one of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company's most triumphant ballets, inaugurates the new season with performances on 24-26 September at the Opera House main hall

Scene from ballet 'Zorba' (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

Between 24 and 26 September, the Cairo Opera Ballet Company will perform Zorba (based on Nikos Kazantzakis'  Zorba the Greek), a ballet in two acts, at the main hall of the Cairo Opera House.

Zorba, now one of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company's most significant works, was first choreographed by Lorca Massine in 1987. While performing with his troupe in Egypt, Massine's work was greatly admired by the late Abdel-Moneim Kamel (1949-2013), then artistic director of the Cairo Company, who found it particularly suitable for Egyptian dancers. Thus, Massine and the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, together, made of Egypt's Zorba an exceptionally successful ballet around the world, just as Kamel had predicted.

The ballet toured Germany, Austria, Greece and Turkey, among other countries, always leaving critics and audiences in awe. "Massine himself underlines the fact that Zorba by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company is the best version of the ballet," reveals Erminia Kamel, current artistic director of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company.

In recent months, dancers added a new dimension to this already triumphant work. While Egyptian artists and intellectuals occupied the Ministry of Culture from 5-30 June to protest against the policies of its then minister, Alaa Abdel-Aziz, music and dance performances held every evening attracted hundreds of passers-by from all walks of life -- and Zorba shone ever brighter and mightier. Scenes from Zorba staged on the very street instantly turned into a main attraction among the nightly performances.

Between 24 and 26 September, the full version of Zorba will be performed at the Cairo Opera House. The ballet is set to music by Greek composer and lyricist Mikis Theodorakis (born 1925).

Cairo Opera Orchestra and A Cappella Choir will be conducted by Hisham Gabr. Choir master is Maya Gvineria.

Main cast will include:
Zorba: Hany Hassan (24 and 26 September), Ahmed Yehia (25 September)
John: Ahmed Nabil (24 and 25 September), Ahmed Yehia (26 September)
Yorgos: Maged Hamdy (24 September), Amr Farouk (25 September), Ahmed Salah (26 September)
Marina: Kateryna Ivanova (24 September), Vera Krapivko (25 September), Anja Ahcin (26 September)

24-26 September at 7pm (ballet ends at 9.15pm)
Cairo Opera House main hall, Zamalek, Cairo


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