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Days and Nights of the Heart Tree Premier: Giving Light & Hope to Egypt's Blind Musicians

An opera ballet by world-renowned Franco-Algerian opera writer and composer Tarik Benouarka comes to life at the Cairo Opera House, dedicated to and performed by Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra.

Staff Writer

Les Jours et les Nuits de l’Arbre Coeur (Days and Nights of the Heart Tree) is an opera ballet by Franco-Algerian opera writer and composer Tarik Benouarka which will premiere at the Cairo Opera House on the 30th of September, 2015. Now, classical pieces are not new to Cairo Opera House, but this might be their most significant premier to date. The world-renowned composer has created this opera ballet with one orchestra in mind to perform it: the distinguished classical ensemble that is the Egyptian Blind Girls Chamber Orchestra Al Nour Wal Amal. Benouarka, apart from curating the ballet, is a pianist and multi-instrumentalist global success whose musical works were involved in countless expeditions including but not limited to classical an contemporary works, cinema, film scores and publicity, institutional events, live performances and operas. The artist now shares his dynamic world of wondrous humanist and sensitive formations expressed through his merging of Oriental and Western melodies and rhythms fused within symphonic music, opera and legendary Arab poetry.

The modern staged and choreographed show combines classical music, opera, singing, poetry and dance, dynamically assembled to illustrate a sensitive and collective desire for life, cultivating an inner environment of unconditional emotional vitality; a story designed to evoke the wealth of the inner-self through a 1 hour and 15 minute performance revolving around Al Nour Wal Amal.

The association of Al Nour Wal Amal was founded in 1954 by Istiklal Radi whose main objective was to provide blind women with the proper education and professional training they required to become active members in society. A musical institution soon followed within the foundation in 1961 after an exclusive method was designed to allow these young women to play without reading sheet music and without the help of seeing a conductor. The inspirational and virtuous foundation of Al Nour Wal Amal now includes over 70 students and 41 symphony orchestra musicians in the sections of wind, wood, string and percussion. The orchestra have been travelling the world since the late 1980s and for the first time are working with Production 21-22; a French company led by director Anne-Charlotte Amory who invest their time and efforts into developing a catalogue of high-quality shows and cultural musical creations.

The ballet opera is also joined by a few soloists from the Cairo Opera House along with tenor Ragaa Eldin and soprano Dalia Fadel representing the new generation of Egyptian classical voices. Famous Egyptian comedian and director of the Egyptian National Theatre, Assem Nagaty, will also be joining the artistic platform in the role of a storyteller, all accompanied by a choir and contemporary dancers Fanny Sage, Utko Ball, Melody Caillieret, Anthony Delamotte and Rebecca Stampfli. Backstage, a range of renowned creative international individuals orchestrate the event, with director Gilbert Désveaux, scenographer and costume designer Alain Lagarde and choreographer Adriana Mortelliti all work together to create a dreamlike scene and adventure circulating around various romantic and inspired representations of Al Nour Wal Amal. As described by the programme: “Two stars that have escaped from a forgotten world. Nour and Amal decide at the same instant to leave their condition as stars to come to embody, through the fruit of the heart tree, to taste, if only for a few days and some nights, the beautiful and essential emotions of the beginning and the end of things; the feelings of life.” 

A profound synopsis and a sensational international squad integrate to highlight the accomplished elevating vision that is Al Nour Wal Amal institution. A must-see grand premier marking the start of an international tour, and certainly an inspirational and mind broadening performance.