"Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel on his grave," Ludwig van Beethoven described the German-born composer of the Baroque era.
A concert dedicated to Handel will take place on Friday 13 June in the lobby of the Cairo Opera House. Dubbed A Handel's Afternoon, the performance will include a few of the composer's staples works perfumed by the Cairo Celebration Choir, conducted by Nayer Nagui.
The concert will also feature soprano Dina Iskander and tenor Joseph Kauzman.
Among the highlight of the performance will be Zadok the Priest, a coronation anthem, composed in 1727 for the coronation of George II. The anthem continued to be played during many coronations of kings and queens of England, royal weddings and later on served as the music in countless theatrical and cinematic works with majestic scenes.
The concert will also include Hallelujah, the famed chorus from Handel's English-language oratorio Messiah. Hallelujah is often performed around Easter time.
Other works performed include cantata Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite from Samson and Ombra mai fu, an aria from Handel's opera Serse.
This is the first time the Cairo Celebration Choir (CCC) will dedicate a concert entirely to Handel.
The founder, conductor and artistic director of the choir, Nayer Nagui, sees in Handel's works an opportunity for the CCC to explore new grounds in choral music.
"It is a continuous journey," Nagui explains to Ahram Online when mentioning the 14-year history of the choir.
"We started with Faure's Requiem as a typical material for the French school, then Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle as an example of Italian style. The CCC also performed Schubert's Stabat Mater, a German work, then Indianas by Carlos Guastavino from Spain. Now it's a turn for the English school and no one represents it better than George Frideric Handel. It is the journey through the choral works and different schools and styles that allows the CCC to develop," Nagui added.
Founded in 2000, the Cairo Celebration Choir consists of over 100 choir members and has become a vibrant element of Egypt's cultural life. They sing the famed choral works of the western classical music repertoire, Gregorian songs and famous Egyptian choral works by Sayed Darwish and Gamal Abdel- Reheim, arranged by Nagui. They regularly participate in the annual Christmas Concert organised at the Cairo Opera House where they are joined by the Cairo Opera Orchestra and soloists from the Cairo Opera Company.
In 2012, the choir participated in the Czech Republic's Prague Voices 2012 Festival, winning the Silver Level Diploma. In early January 2014, the CCC gave a concert dubbed Une Note d'Ici et d'Ailleurs (A Note from Here and There) to open the 2014 programme of the National Mohammed V Theatrein Rabat, Morocco. In April, the choir sung in France as part of the regional Festival de la Voix (Voice Festival), followed by their performance at UNESCO Main Theatre Hall in Paris.
Friday, 13 June at 3pm
Main hall entrance lobby, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek, Cairo
Source: Ahram Online