Viva la cultura

Amira Salah-Ahmed
5 Min Read

This year, culture lovers will have to hit the ground running to keep up with the ample, varied menu of exhibitions and performances on offer from around the world. For starters, the Mexican embassy announced a culture program for 2008 that will bring to Egypt some of their most talented performers, artists and writers.

“The contemporary culture life in Egypt is vibrant, so instead of continuing with a program that presents static exhibitions, we are bringing young, contemporary and live performances, said Mexican Ambassador to Egypt Jaime Nualart at a press reception in his Maadi residence Saturday.

“There is an enormous interest among Egyptian youth to see what the young dancers, performers and filmmakers from around the world are producing, he told Daily News Egypt.

The program is broken down into four categories: exhibitions, performing arts, visual arts and lectures.

An intensive cultural exchange program between Mexico and Egypt was initiated two years ago, and this year will see a varied collection in celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Strengthening Mexican-Egyptian cultural ties helps connect both cultures, and this cannot be achieved without the [interest of] the audience, the Egyptian public, added Nualart.

Part of this cooperation began late last year with the opening of “Isis and the Feathered Snake: Pharaonic Egypt/Pre-Hispanic Mexico in September 2007 in the Mexican City of Monterrey

The collection of 144 archaeological pieces from the museums of Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan, as well as around 200 Mexican pieces, will next be on display at the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City from February to June 2008.

“For the first time, Egyptian antiquities will be on display side by side with antiquities from Mexico, said Nualart.

The Mexican culture program for this year also coincides with the 20th jubilee of the new Cairo Opera House.

Erminia Kamel, artistic director of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, was on hand to highlight the cooperation between the two national ballet companies.

Last year brought classical ballet soloists Blanca Rios and Harold Quintero, treating audiences to a performance of “Don Quixote and the “Black Swan from “Swan Lake.

Next week, the soloists return to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s version of the tale of star-crossed lovers “Romeo and Juliet. Recognized as the Russian composers’ best known work, the show will be playing Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 and another performance on Feb. 3.

Kamel said, “We are keen to start a serious cooperation with the Mexican Ballet Company given the professionalism and unique style of Mexican dancers, and we want to start an exchange program between both ballet companies to benefit dancers from both sides.

This February, Egypt will also play host to one of Mexico’s best contemporary dance companies: Tania Pérez-Salas founded her company in 1994, and has since performed in the US, China as well as all over South America and Europe. Her dance company will perform at the Sayed Darwish Theater in Alexandria Feb. 12 and at Cairo’s Gomhuria Theater Feb. 14-15.

In another of the year’s highlights, this spring will bring the refreshing sounds of Olivia Gorra, who has been dubbed by critics as the most important soprano in Mexico. Gorra will grace the stages of the Cairo Opera House.

For literary circles, Alberto Ruy Sánchez, an award-winning fiction and non-fiction writer, poet and essayist from Mexico City, will visit Egypt in April to give a lecture upon the invitation of the Egyptian Writers’ Union.

Later this summer will see three-time Grammy nominees Tambuco, a percussion ensemble founded in 1993 by four Mexican musicians. The group’s “repertoire ranges from structuralist percussion music to a wide range of ethnic drum music and avante garde sound interpretation. The group is set to perform in August.

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