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.”