The American University in Cairo (AUC) has become the fourth institution in Egypt to participate in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD program. A screening of L’Amour de Loin took place in AUC’s Malak Gabr Arts Theater last Saturday to the entire AUC community.While last Saturday’s screening of L’Amour de Loin is the third this season, it is the first that is open to the AUC community. For the 2016 - 2017 season, a total of 10 operas will be broadcast to participating theaters, including Tristan un Isolde, Romeo et Juliet and Don Giovanni, in addition to a scheduled screening for the public.
Inaugurated in 2006 in the hopes of reaching new audiences, the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD transmits broadcasts from numerous operas each season to more than 2,000 theaters in 70 countries around the world. In Egypt, the program has been broadcast to the Technical University of Berlin in El Gouna, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Cairo Opera House and the Malak Gabr Arts Theater at AUC.
A collaborative effort, the Met Live in HD project is co-organized by the Office of the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Arts, and sponsored by Mahmoud M. Abdallah, a member of the Board of Directors at the Metropolitan Opera.
Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin tells a story of love from afar, anguish and passion. Significantly, this performance will also mark the first time in more than 100 years that the Metropolitan Opera will have presented an opera written by a female composer.
Chelsea Green, assistant professor of music in the Department of the Arts, delivered the introductory remarks for last Saturday’s screening at AUC. In her remarks, she discussed the historically proven connection between French troubadour culture and Arab Andalusian music culture, and how that historical connection is applied in this contemporary opera, L’Amour de Loin.
Emphasizing Abdallah's essential role in bringing the historic Metropolitan Opera to AUC’s campus, Nathaniel Bowditch, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, “Mr. Abdallah is an active and engaged lover of the opera. He has been extremely passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to bringing the fine arts, especially the opera, to Egypt. He was instrumental in the Met live stream being produced in El Gouna and the Cairo Opera House, and now to AUC as well. He knows that AUC is one of the premier arts institutions in Egypt, so the Met should be here, too. President Ricciardone has also been extremely supportive of this effort.”
"In bringing the Metropolitan Opera live stream to AUC, I wanted to continue to share my passion for opera with the people of Egypt,” noted Abdallah. “Enhancing the fine arts in Egypt is a very important goal. This live stream allows the Metropolitan Opera to be viewed by a much larger audience, widening its accessibility. I am excited by the positive reaction to this new program on campus, and I look forward to continuing to share the opera with students, faculty, staff and the wider AUC community."
Bowditch also noted that the first two broadcasts at AUC have had an extremely positive reaction, and he looks forward to these larger screenings making opera an accessible art form for students, faculty and staff alike. “We want to show people how fun and interesting the opera is,” he explained. Moreover, “the live stream gives all these interesting camera angles, interviews with the cast and behind-the-scenes footage, so it is really a total access experience that makes the opera even more personal and immersive that it already is.”