Roméo et Juliette: Met Opera Live in HD Premiere at AUC

On Saturday, January 21, AUC hosted its first public transmission of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, featuring the historic and widely acclaimed Romeo et Juliette.

The show began at 7:30 pm, with a brief public reception beforehand. Tickets costed LE 100 (with a LE 10 service charge for purchasing tickets online). More information on tickets can be found here.

Conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, this adaptation of Romeo et Juliette by Charles Gounod tells the story of the endless feud between the Montague and Capulet families, and the forbidden love between their children, Romeo and Juliette. The performance was in French.

Romeo et Juliette has its own special language, which is to say the French language, but also this special musical language, and its style of presentation,” said John Baboukis, director of the music program in the Department of the Arts, who will give brief introductory remarks before the screening. “It is a truly wonderful piece. Gounod does not get the respect he deserves. Romeo et Juliette is really quite special and has a whole different flavor.”

Baboukis also pointed out that the Malak Gabr Art Theater’s new screen and surround sound made the screening quality particularly remarkable.

While this has been the fourth Met Opera screening to be held at AUC this academic year, it is the premiere public performance, further strengthening AUC’s role as a cultural hub for the New Cairo community. As Nathaniel Bowditch, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, noted, “In this neighborhood, we have everything we need to be the center for culture here, the go-to place,” said Bowditch. “We really want to engage this area of Cairo.”

Echoing these sentiments, Baboukis added, “We want to create opportunities for more people to go to the opera. There are so many people moving out to this area, and it is more feasible for them to come here than downtown. We want to develop the audience that is right here. We also want to make sure that when people come and see the opera, they know about all the other amazing things happening on campus, such as our concert schedule, theatre program and film series.”

In addition to being a cultural hub, Bowditch views AUC as “a place where the University community and the outside community can come together.” Reflecting on the ample resources of AUC’s campus, Bowditch explained, “This campus is unique in Egypt and the whole Middle East. We have a great opportunity, and we can get even more out of the physical campus.”

Various constituencies around campus, such as the Office of the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of the Arts, have collaborated in the planning of this project. “This show is the culmination of what we’ve been working so hard on,” said Bowditch. “It is exciting to finally get to share it with the public community.”

AUC is the fourth institution in Egypt to participate in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD program. Mahmoud M. Abdallah, a member of the Board of Directors at the Metropolitan Opera, generously sponsored the Met Opera’s arrival to AUC’s campus and has been instrumental in its continued success. “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.”