Ibsen Year 2006 in Egypt

Several high-profile activities will take place in Egypt in 2006 to commemorate playwright Henrik Ibsen.


International Gala performance at the Great Pyramids of Giza

To mark the 100 year commemoration of renowned playwright Henrik Ibsen’s death (1828-1906),  the Great Pyramids of Giza will be the dramatic setting for an international gala performance of Ibsen’s world famous play Peer Gynt. The performance is held under the auspices of H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak. Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway, high protector of the Ibsen Year, will also be present on October 27.

Taking place in Cairo on October 26 and 27, this production will not only be one of the key Egyptian cultural events of 2006, but also the greatest international performance in the year-long Ibsen commemoration that has taken place in 80 countries world wide with a total of around 8000 events, to celebrate the life and works of the Norwegian-born writer.

Co-ordinated by Ibsen 2006 in co-operation with the Egyptian Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Culture and the Cairo Opera, the event will attract more than 1.500 international visitors to the Egyptian capital.

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is known as the father of modern drama and his works are as widely read and performed as Shakespeare’s plays. Written in 1867, Peer Gynt is considered to be among Ibsen’s most famous works. The play is an insightful poetic drama telling the story of Peer Gynt’s life. His  experiences of travelling through the Arab world will have a special focus in the Giza performance, with its dramatic climax set in Egypt at the foot of the Sphinx.

The Giza production will be directed by Bentein Baardson, known for orchestrating the highly acclaimed opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer in 1994, and also the official opening of the library in Alexandria in 2002. Baardson has cast  Norwegian actors Bjarte Hjelmeland and Lise Fjeldstad in the lead roles, accompanied by  the The Cairo Symphony Orchestra and The Cairo Opera Acapella Choir together with singers from The Norwegian National Opera.

Tickets can be purchased from the Cairo Opera House for 100 LE each by calling (+2) 02 7398114. There are special discounts for groups, and students are offered tickets for free. All ticket proceeds will go to the Children’s Cancer Hospital Foundation.

Henrik Ibsen – A Modern Inspirer
October 29th – 13th November 2006
The study of Ibsen’s works, and the new perspectives that are continually being revealed in
them, provide creative inspiration for artists all over the world. One of these is the sculptor Nina Sundbye. Bringing together her sculptures and Ibsen’s manuscripts highlights the interplay between different forms of art and shows how an artist has been inspired by Ibsen’s writing and ideas. The exhibition is organized by the National Library of Norway and puts focus on nine of Ibsen’s strong female characters. Prior to the exhibition’s arrival at Bibliotheca Alexandrina it has been shown in Dresden, Stockholm and Rome.

To Be a Poet is To See
The Cairo - Tokyo - Oslo Peer Gynt connection
October 23rd – 27th 2006 | Opening reception Sun 22nd 8 pm. Welcome!
A threefold exhibition featuring
* A satirical five meter long mural on the play Peer Gynt by the scottish, Tokyo-based contemporary artist Jack McLean. Curated by Johnnie Walker, director of A.R.T. Both will be present at the opening and through out the exhibition.
* To Be a Poet is t o See – Ibsen in Our Time
Poster exhibition showing the socio-political aspects of Ibsen’s works and their continuing relevance today.
* www.exploreibsen.com
World premiere: an interactive, informative and entertaining web installation projected on the wall. The audience can take part in a live image base web walk with Ibsen through contemporary Oslo, meeting central characters and challenges on their way. Reinert Mithassel, responsible for concept and direction will be present.

October 27th and 28th 2006
On October 27th and 28th, scholars, students and theatre-practitioners from Europe and the Arab world will be brought together to discuss Ibsen’s works in a broader cultural context. Relevant topics will be «Ibsen in the Arab world», «Reflections on the relationship between cultures in Ibsen’s
works», «Orientalism and the critique of orientalism in Ibsen», «Politics» and «Gender». The conference is arranged by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture in cooperation with the Centre for Ibsen Studies at the University of Oslo.

Egyptian – Norwegian seminar
October 30th 2006
Henrik Ibsen was constantly experimenting and pushing boundaries in his writing. His plays still generate heated debates, especially on women’s rights and gender equality. Norwegian foreign policy and development cooperation focus on promoting gender equality. Ibsen’s works can play an important part in these efforts through the issues they raise. The idea behind the seminars of «Nora’s sisters» is to present Ibsen as a dramatist who can inspire and challenge people of today, and provide an opportunity to discuss gender issues, share experiences and raise public awareness.

Ibsen in Arabic
10 of Ibsen’s most central plays, including of course Peer Gynt, are being republished in Arabic. The three volume edition includes the introduction Ibsen from Romanticism to Realism by Dr. Samir Sarhan, and is the result of a cooperation between Egypt’s Supreme Council for Culture and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Cairo.

Media coverage

Aftenposten: "Høyt spill ved Sfinxen" (in Norwegian)

Stavanger Aftenblad: "Kairo operakor går ikke utenom" (in Norwegian)

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