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PHOTO GALLERY: Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra performs in Paris's Salle Gaveau




(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

(Photo: Ati Metwaly)

The Days and Nights of the Heart Tree is a composition by Tarik Benouarka, a Frech-Alegrian composer. It’s world premiere took place in Cairo, on 30 September at the Cairo Opera House, and then in Paris on 5 November at the Salle Gaveau.

The composition includes orchestra, two soloists, soprano (Dalia Fadel performed in Cairo and Rasha Rizk in Paris) as the character of Amal and tenor Ragaa El-Din as Nour, choir, narrator (Assem Nagaty in Cairo and a Syrian actor in Paris) as well as video projections. The orchestra was conducted by Mohamed Saad Basha.

Al-Nour Wal Amal (Light and Hope) Chamber Orchestra consists of 40 visually impaired women. They represent Al-Nour Wal Amal Association founded in 1954 by a group of volunteers under the leadership of the late Istiklal Radi. The association was the first in the Middle East aiming at the care, education, vocational training and integration into society of blind girls and women.

In 1961, Istiklal Radi decided to expand the association's activities by incorporating music education. She contacted the late Samha El-Kholy, former president of the Academy of Arts and former dean of the Cairo Conservatory. Together, they founded the Al-Nour Wal Amal Music Institute to teach music on an academic basis.

A decade after founding of the institute, the small orchestra was formed and soon their concerts in Egypt began capturing the hearts of audiences.

In the early 1980s, and on the initiative of Amal Fikry, vice-chair of Al-Nour Wal Amal Association, the orchestra embarked on international tours.

Al-Nour Wal Amal's popularity brought them large acclaim and over the past years they were applauded across five continents and countless countries. During their many tours they were called "The fourth pyramid of Giza," "The human miracle," and "The ambassadors of Egypt."

Read review of the Days and Nights of the Heart Tree here

(Photos: Ati Metwaly)