Italian conductor Isabella Ambrosini returns to Cairo Opera

New concert connects Italy and Egypt

19 December, 16:00

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, DECEMBER 19 - Italian conductor Isabella Ambrosini returned to the Cairo Opera House following a first concert two years ago to lead the Egyptian capital's symphony orchestra, which is almost never conducted by a woman.

    The performance took place on Saturday in an all-Italian programme with the exception of the double Bach concert for two violins and orchestra.

    That concluded the first part of the programme, highlighted by the performance of one of Egypt's top sopranos, Iman Moustafa.

    The 50-member choir also stood out in a performance of the Hymn to the Sun from Pietro Mascagni's Iris.

    Ambrosini had the honour of conducting more than once for an audience that included Pope John Paul II, and since 2012 is the only woman to have conducted an orchestra at Montecitorio Palace, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

    She also made an indirect tribute to Cairo and the 150-year anniversary of the inauguration of the Suez Canal by conducting the overture to Aida.

    The opera is linked to Ismail Pascià, the khedive of Egypt, who wanted to commission Verdi to compose a hymn to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal in November 1869.

    Verdi refused and said he didn't compose music for occasions, but he later composed the score for the inauguration of the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo that opened in December 1871.

    Ambrosini is the artistic and musical director as well as founder of the Rome Symphony Orchestra and the Roma Tre Choir, and she chose a programme that also included music by Puccini and Respighi.

    "With this programme, I wanted to show that in Italian opera music between 1800 and 1900 - which was often considered the 'melodic' antithesis of contemporary European symphony - especially for the works of Mascagni and Puccini, there is a full and mature symphonism that at times has such power it is compared to Wagner. This is particularly evident in passages such as Mascagni's Hymn to the Sun or in Butterfly," Ambrosini told ANSAmed following the concert.

    Ambrosini is also showing herself to be a cultural mediator between the two shores of the Mediterranean, by connecting the Italian capital with Egypt, a country that is 90% Muslim, and in Cairo, site of Al-Azhar University, the most important Sunni Islam institution.

    Ambrosini's upcoming dates in 2020 include performances in Chile and Mexico, "to continue my mission as ambassador of Italian opera music", she said.(ANSAmed).

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