Egyptian opera takes Jeddah audience on a musical journey

Egyptian singer Sabreen Al-Nijain performs at the Cairo opera in Dar Al-Hekma University, Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 07 July 2018

Egyptian opera takes Jeddah audience on a musical journey

  • The show began with an instrumental version of “Zai Al-Hawa” (“Like the Wind”) by Abdel Halim Hafez
  • I have listened to a lot of Egyptian songs and coming here I was not disappointed: fan

JEDDAH: An Egyptian opera performance delighted a Jeddah audience on Thursday with a blend of music and tradition in the Dar Al-Hekma University auditorium.

University students were among the audience gathered in the auditorium. The show began with an instrumental version of “Zai Al-Hawa” (“Like the Wind”) by Abdel Halim Hafez.

Singer Sabreen Al-Nijain took to the stage to deliver a stunning performance.

The music fused traditional forms with modern instruments. After Al-Nijain, another singer, Ahmad Effat, won a standing ovation for the quality of his performance.

The orchestra played an instrumental version of “Alf Leila Wa Leila” by the late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum.

The show ended with an eruption of applause, cheers and whistles as the performers came on stage to bid their final goodbye.

In an interview, Al-Nijain said: “I am very very happy to be performing here, the crowd is great, and the people are great. The one thing I found common between here and Egypt is that people are thirsty for good music, and they love songs that are old and traditional.

“We thank the organizers here because I feel honored. I want to perform again for the amazing crowd in the future.” 

Effat told Arab News: “Ever since I was a child I learned how to sing. When kids are supposed to be learning how to speak, I learned how to sing, so later when I received encouragement I worked harder. In the time I spent here what touched me most was the standing ovation. An artist doesn’t take money from a performance — they take the appreciation and respect they get.”

He said: “Opera is the only place that encapsulates the traditions of the Arab world, it is respected around the world.”

The orchestra’s conductor, Mustafa Hilmi, greeted the audience after the show. “I did two shows last month in Riyadh. We try to make different choices in the show, things we have never done before. People here are passionate about music and they sing along to Egyptian songs which is amazing.

“We choose songs based on trends and traditions. We try to preserve our old Egyptian songs and add something new so that the listeners of this generation don’t get bored by the same old songs.”

Sarah Ahmad, 23, who attended the opera said: “I have listened to a lot of Egyptian songs and coming here I was not disappointed. The music was great, the singers sang beautifully and the song choice was amazing.”


Yara Shahidi glows on NAACP Image Awards red carpet

The US actress was nominated for an NAACP award for her role in “Grown-ish.” (Getty)
Updated 23 February 2020

Yara Shahidi glows on NAACP Image Awards red carpet

DUBAI: On Saturday night, A-listers descended upon the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, for the 51st annual NAACP Image Awards. Among the stars in attendance was US actress and activist Yara Shahidi, who was nominated for the Best Actress in a Comedy Series award for her role in “Grown-ish.” While the 20-year-old didn’t take home the prize — the accolade went to her “Black-ish” co-star Tracee Ellis Ross — Shahidi was a major winner when it came to her scene-stealing red carpet look.

The US-Iranian actress stepped out wearing a mint green satin minidress covered in embellishments by Gucci and a pair of chunky metallic leather platform sandals, also from the Italian house.

As for her beauty look, Shahidi decided to embrace her natural curls on the red carpet. Glowy skin, brushed up brows, a feline flick of liquid eyeliner and a swipe of reflective gloss rendered her makeup look complete.  

The US-Iranian actress stepped out wearing a mint green satin minidress covered in embellishments by Gucci. (Getty)

Other stars who turned heads at the annual awards ceremony include “9-1-1” actress Angela Bassett who accepted the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series award wearing a mint-colored, structured evening gown by Lebanese couture duo Azzi & Osta. The dress featured a waist-cinching belt with an asymmetric neckline and was accessorized with a matching emerald-green clutch and drop earrings.

Other winners on the night included singer Lizzo, who was named the Entertainer of the Year, and “Just Mercy,” which won the Best Motion Picture award, while its lead actor Michael B. Fox nabbed the Best Actor trophy and its secondary star Jamie Foxx won the Best Supporting Actor prize at the awards ceremony that recognizes entertainers of color.

Angela Bassett accepted the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series award wearing a dress from Azzi & Osta. (AFP)

Jordan won for his role as a crusading defense attorney in the film, while Foxx won for his portrayal of the wrongly convicted man he fought for.

Elsewhere, Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Actress in a Film prize for her role in “Us,” and 15-year Marsai Martin won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Little” over superstar names including Jennifer Lopez, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer.

Meanwhile, singer-turned-beauty-mogul Rihanna received the NAACP President’s Award for Special Achievement and Distinguished Public Service. She called for racial, religious and cultural unity during her acceptance speech. “If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together,” she stated, adding: “We can’t do it divided.”