New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

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New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Bombay »

Egypt’s Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz dismissed the head of the Cairo Opera House on Tuesday.


Ines Abdel-Dayem, who was appointed in 2012 by the previous minister for culture, told Ahram Arabic that she had not been informed of the reasons behind the decision, but that it comes as part of a “massacre” carried out by the new culture minister against the leadership of the culture ministry.

Abdel-Aziz was appointed to his post in a Cabinet reshuffle in May.

"It seems that the Minister is implementing a specific vision and is working to achieve it with the utmost speed," Abdel-Dayem said.

Speaking to Ahram Online directly, she said she was “proud to leave the scene since it is now under the management of a minister who doesn't represent artists or intellectuals.”

"We have a minister whose experience is much less than that of many highly qualified artists and intellectuals," she added.

Abdel-Dayem said that, as there are planned discussions on Tuesday at the Shura Council to reduce the budget allocated to the Cairo Opera House, her removal will leave no one to protect the already minimal budget that the opera house operates with.

"There were no confrontations or disagreements between the minister and myself," she said affirming that she would take legal action against the decision to dismiss her, as her contract expires in February 2014.

Abdel-Dayem also told Ahram Online that the minister had announced that Reda El-Wakil, currently head of the Artistic House at the Cairo Opera House, will be appointed to the position.

El-Wakil was unavailable for comment.

"Since the minister's appointment on 7 May, he has not tried to implement any cultural policy. All he is doing is dismissing experienced artists from leading posts in Egypt's culture scene," Abdel-Dayem said.

Abdel-Dayem is the third senior official within the culture ministry to get sacked since the minister took office three weeks ago. Her dismissal follows that of Ahmed Mujahid, head of the Egyptian General Book Authority, and Salah El-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector, who was dismissed from his post on Monday, a decision that angered many visual artists who plan a protest against the ministerial decision.

Said Tawfiq, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Culture, offered his resignation when Abdel-Aziz came to office, but the minister rejected his offer and asked him to stay on.

The minister also sent a note of dismissal of Sameh Mahran, head of the Academy of Arts, and officially accused him of defamation and harming the minister’s reputation.

However, Mahran was not fired from his post as the position, as the head of the academy can only be dismissed by presidential decree.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/72539.aspx



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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Bombay »

Dismissal of Fine Arts head outrages Egypt artists against culture minister


Egyptian Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz on Sunday sacked Salah El-Meligy, head of Egypt's Central Administration of Museums and Exhibitions and head of Egypt's Fine Arts Sector.


The minister provided no reasons for the decision, while the minister's media office remained silent on the issue.

The move came only hours after El-Meligy inaugurated the 35th annual General Art Exhibition on Sunday night – in the minister's absence – at Cairo's Arts Palace.

Abdel-Aziz had been forced to reverse an earlier decision to postpone the inauguration ceremony, owing to pressure exerted by visual artists – especially after the ministry's security administration had told him that it would be difficult to prevent artists from holding the event.

The minister had hoped to eliminate around 30 pieces of artwork, which, he asserted, had been submitted after the deadline set by the exhibition's organising committee.

The exhibition's curatorial committee, headed by Mohamed El-Tarawy, was outraged by the move, arguing that such decisions fall under the jurisdiction of the exhibition's curator. It is the curator, they argue, who – together with the curatorial committee – sets the exhibition's criteria based on a specific artistic vision.

El-Meligy told Ahram Online that the minister's decision to sack him had "been expected." El-Meligy said he was "satisfied" with the current state of affairs, however, since it was "impossible" for him to work with a culture minister "who doesn't appreciate art."

Visual artists, meanwhile, have condemned El-Meligy's dismissal. They plan to hold a press conference on Tuesday at 10am to voice their rejection of the recently-appointed minister and his decisions.

Visual artist Mohamed Talaat has said that Egyptian artists plan to escalate their opposition to the minister and his policies by "any means necessary," including protest marches and sit-ins.

An 'unwanted' minister

Abdel-Aziz's appointment earlier this month was met by protests from Egypt's cultural community, who accuse him of collaborating with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and aiming to 'Brotherhoodise' the state institutions, including the culture ministry. Abdel-Aziz was appointed earlier in May by former Brotherhood top leader and current president, Mohamed Morsi.

On Tuesday 14 May, actors, filmmakers, theatre directors, musicians and singers, along with several university professors, organised a protest march from the Hanager Arts Centre – located on the grounds of the Cairo Opera House – to the nearby culture minister's office in Zamalek.

The day eartlier, artists at the Cairo Opera House were angered by the new minister's alleged plans to remove Ines Abdel-Dayem from the post of opera chair. Although the ministry denied the allegations, artists remain worried that talk regarding Abdel-Dayem's removal remains underway inside the ministry.

The sense of insecurity and anger was topped by the artists' opposition to Muslim Brotherhood rule and the new minister's qualifications, which, they say, are not academically strong enough for him to hold Egypt's culture portfolio. They stress that Abdel-Aziz's contributions to Egyptian culture are largely unknown.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/72499.aspx

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by BENNU »

And it is being discussed, whether something as immoral as ballet should be performed:


http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=1087187

Jamal Hamed student member of the Shura Council for Nour Party, the need to cancel the ballet, and calling it art nudes, which spread immorality and obscenity among the people.

He stressed during a meeting of the Committee on Culture, Information and Tourism Shura, to discuss the general budget for the Opera House for the new fiscal year, under the chairmanship of Fathi Shehab, that it is not against the arts in general, but only against the "loops" in the name of art, under the slogans of cultural.

http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=1 ... k.facebook

Expressed artist Hany Hassan, the most famous dancer Ballet in Egypt, strong dissatisfaction of claim MP party light, Gamal Hamed, a member of the Shura Council to cancel the art of "ballet" and described it as "the art of nudes," adding, shame on Egypt to hear where such views, pointing out to that of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser had honored Dr. late artist Abdel Moneim Kamel and awarded the Order of the Republic of class to be configured Egyptian Ballet.

Hany Hassan said in a special statement for the "seventh day" The real nudes are infused in vehicles transporting people for their support everywhere, They beards and do not know and abuse of Islam, and Egypt's identity.

The "good" to the art of ballet Egyptian offers art in the world of cultural events and artistic religious on the regional and international level, including ambassadors and enjoys Artists Ballet appreciated in European societies and Arabic such as the UAE, Tunisia and Morocco to take part in the national celebrations.

Hassan asked: How is this art has accused the Academy? And how disgraced, has honored the late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, Dr. Abdel Moneim Kamel and give him the Order of the Republic of the first class to be configured Ballet Egyptian, pointing out that the last posts ballet Egypt was in the International Conference for the tourist in Berlin and attended by members of parliament, including Mohamed Abdel Moneim El Sawy, was also attended by more than five thousand spectators from around the world and won offer a tremendous success.

Hassan called anyone who does not know anything about the art of ballet historically and methodologically not to speak with him again, stressing that they will not be able to change the identity of Egypt, no matter what they do.

Related topics
Vice-Nour Party calls for the abolition of "ballet" and he describes as "art nudes"

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Dusak »

Just something else they have banned/halted/canceled to remove anything enjoyable from the general public eye as they deem unsuitable. I wonder how many get Playboy sent over in their diplomatic bags?
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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Zooropa »

How long before belly dancers get the chop?

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Who2 »

Personally I always thought Farouk Hosni was a great cultural minister, he was cultural, an artist, gay as a nine bob note and spoke several languages, what more could one ask for in a culture minister, is he still doing time or did he grow a beard ?....:cool:
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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

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http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/72612.aspx

The show will not go on: Cairo Opera House on strike

After the new culture minister fires the head of the opera house, artists refused to perform Aida on Tuesday, instead holding protest signs on stage

The Cairo Opera House witnessed unprecedented protests on Tuesday, following the sacking of opera house head Ines Abdel-Dayem by the new culture minister.

Instead of the expected evening performance of opera Aida, the curtain was raised on a stage full of hundreds of opera house musicians and staff holding protest signs.

Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz, who was appointed earlier this month, dismissed Abdel-Dayem on Tuesday morning, to outrage from the opera house community.

Abdel-Dayem is the third in a series of sackings of senior officials by the new minister of culture since he took office three weeks ago, after Ahmed Mujahid, head of the Egyptian General Book Authority, and Salah El-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector, were let go.

A rumour that Abdel-Dayem would be dismissed surfaced several days ago, and was met with a small-scale protest by artists. On several occasions in recent days the minister denied plans to sack Abdel-Dayem.

Following the official announcement of Abdel-Dayem’s dismissal on Tuesday morning, the minister named Reda El-Wakil, currently head of the Artistic House at the Cairo Opera House, to be her successor.

El-Wakil stated on his Facebook page: "I decline to accept the position…the entire Cairo Opera House family trusts Dr. Ines Abdel-Dayem, and wishes her success in resuming her post as head of the Cairo Opera House."

Also on Tuesday, lawmakers in the Shura Council were discussing the budget of the opera house, and recommended that it be reduced. One of the members of the Islamist-dominated Shura Council also suggested that ballet performances should be cancelled, due to the "nudity" they entail. The suggestion, however, was not given further consideration.

Abdel-Dayem told Ahram Online on Tuesday that the decision to fire her prevented her from joining the Shura Council session to defend the Opera House’s budget. Principal conductor and artistic director of the Cairo Opera Orchestra Nayer Nagui told Ahram Online that "the current budget is barely sufficient to cover the expenses of a musical season."

At 5pm on Tuesday, the artists took their discontent outside the Cairo Opera House, paralleling another planned protest staged by visual artists condemning the removal of El-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector.

A small group of artists and musicians protested outside the gate of the opera grounds, chanting and holding banners reading: "the opera is a red line," "we are all Ines Abdel-Dayem," and "opera is an expression of Egyptian culture.”

The protest moved later in the day to the other side of the opera house by Kasr El-Nil bridge, as car drivers honked their horns in support.

The artists also chanted against Egypt's Islamist rulers, and the "rule of the Supreme Guide” of the Muslim Brotherhood, echoing opposition criticism that the secretive organisation is in effect ruling the country, not President Morsi.

Shortly after 7pm, the musicians poured into the opera house, as at 8pm they were expected to perform Verdi's Aida. Smartly-dressed audience members started to fill the hall.

However, when the curtains were raised, they revealed a staged filled by over 300 musicians, singers, ballet dancers – the complete cast of Aida joined by other artists and administrative personnel – dressed in their costumes, holding protest signs instead of props.

Artists from the Cairo Opera Orchestra, Cairo Opera Company, Cairo Opera Ballet Company, Cairo Opera Choir, Acapella Choir among many others held signs condemning the minister of culture and expressing solidarity with Abdel-Dayem.

Nayer Nagui, artistic director and principal conductor of the Cairo Opera Orchestra made a statement to the audience.

"In solidarity with Dr. Ines Abdel-Dayem, head of the Cairo Opera House, and with respect for her role, we, the artists and staff of the Cairo Opera House, have decided to refrain from performing the opera Aida tonight. This is the first step towards halting all the activities of the opera house until the removal of the culture minister, who has been making arbitrary decisions against prominent leaders in the ministry, in an attempt to change the identity of this country."

Nagui's statement was met with loud applause from the audience with many joining the artists in chants against the minister and "Brotherhoodisation" of the Egypt's culture. As the curtain closed, though surprised, the audience expressed their backing of the artists' actions.





The opera offered reimbursement for the tickets, but audience members refused to take their money back, stating that they fully support the artists' protest.

"I think it is wonderful, artists standing up for free speech," one member of the audience told Ahram Online. Her husband could not agree more. "I think that it is great that citizens are standing up and taking responsibility for what they believe in," he said.

The couple was proud that their children were there with them that night, even though they missed Aida. "They witnessed a moment of history. They can see Aida at any point in their lives, but they can never see the Cairo Opera House go on strike. This is unique and historical," their mother said.

Another member of the audience, Ahmed Gamil, an Egyptian doctor who had travelled to Cairo especially to watch Aida, said he supports the strike despite being disappointed the performance was cancelled. "What happened is a continuation of everything that is happening in the country. They have the right to strike, and stop working, all sectors do, even health which I represent."

In the midst of the protests, the news broke that stage director Badr El-Zakaziky would be appointed to the vacant post.

"If I don’t accept the post, the minister will appoint someone else," he told Ahram Online, surrounded by artists angered by his uncertainty. At one point he told the artists he would reject the offer, but when asked by Ahram Online, he replied: "I haven’t made up my mind."

The atmosphere backstage was turbulent, with many opera house staff urging El-Zakaziky not to accept the decision and become a “traitor.”

The usually silent hallways of the Cairo Opera House were brimming with commotion until late into the night. While one group of artists released a press announcement in which they denounced any interference in the opera coming from minister Abdel-Aziz, several artists sat on the stairs of the entrance hall, welcoming the arriving media with protest signs.

Tuesday’s protest by the opera house’s staff and artists was of an unprecedented scale. Over the past few months, many within the artistic community had expressed their dissatisfaction with the changes taking place in the country and perceived attacks on cultural freedom.

Egyptian staff and musicians at the opera house have said that they will continue to strike until the new cultural minister steps down.

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Dusak »

These protesters well deserved the applause and support, but it will be like trying to remove a mountain with these people. To have their ideals, beliefs and politics questioned will only enhance their determination to let it fall to ruin. They will never admit defeat or back down until they are removed from power on a permanent basis.
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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Chocolate Eclair »

Aida feeling this might happen.....

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Hafiz »

The 'dismissed one' thinks the Minister should both represent artists and intellectuals and be a person of artistic background, experience or training.

Ministers of the arts in the west don't represent the performers. They represent the state and taxpayers. To suggest they should represent the artists is like letting the lunatics run the asylum or the workers in an office running the business.

As far as artistic ministerial background, where in the west would this qualification be set.

What is wrong with a government, elected by the people, setting the rules. The opera house workers or performers have no accountability except to themselves.

This seems like the seculars crying wolf yet again.

Scarce government funds are being used for an elite western entertainment which has a unique appeal to classes which have little time for their own culture.

How many poor countries can afford to subsidize a symphony orchestra, a ballet company and an opera season.

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Bombay »

Opera head sacked under Mursi is Egypt’s culture minister

The former head of the Cairo opera, who was sacked by ousted President Mohamed Mursi’s Islamist government, has been named Egypt’s new culture minister by the country’s new military-backed interim government.
Ines Abdel Dayem was fired as head of the Cairo Opera House by Mursi’s culture minister in May.
Her sacking, along with an Islamist parliamentarian’s call for a ban on ballet, prompted performers and cultural figures to stage a sit-in at the culture ministry lasting several weeks.
Dayem, a French-educated flautist, announced on Monday that she had accepted the post of culture minister in the interim government being set up by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.
Beblawi has selected mostly liberals and technocrats for a cabinet to run Egypt under an army-backed road map after the military’s overthrow of Mursi on July 3.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/mi ... ister.html

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Re: New culture minister fires head of Cairo Opera House

Post by Dusak »

Dusak wrote:These protesters well deserved the applause and support, but it will be like trying to remove a mountain with these people. To have their ideals, beliefs and politics questioned will only enhance their determination to let it fall to ruin. They will never admit defeat or back down until they are removed from power on a permanent basis.
At least I got that one right. :d2:
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