Salah Jahin’s ‘Great Night’: Dancers Replace Puppets
The Cairo Opera House Ballet troupe Wednesday performed the operetta Al Lailah Al Kebirah (Great Night) by late poet and cartoonist Salah Jahin, according to the local press.
As the first of its kind, the operetta was a blend of belly dance and classical ballet, in which Dancers replace the longstanding puppets.
This has marked the first time for the Opera House to portray an Egyptian ballet composed by the late musician Sayyed Makkawi and remade for the orchestra by Gamal Salameh. It was directed and designed by Abdel Menem Kamel.
In view of the fact that the Egyptian and Arab audiences have been deeply linked with the puppet movements for more than 37 years, some dances were designed to be performed on the stage, particularly belly dances, in a way similar to these movements.
Blending the three movements has led to a beautiful feature which might create some sort of Arabic ballet particularly in view of the fact that the western ballet dancers use sometimes some Arab folk dances such as Kassarat Al Bondok (Hazelnuts Breaker) in different scenes.
However, Al Lailah Al Kebirah features are usually portrayed during the celebrations of prophet Mohammed birthday launched in most of the Egyptian areas particularly around the mosques linked with the names of the prophet family members including Al Husseini, Al Sayyidah Zainab, A’eshah and Nafisah mosques.
Jahin wrote the operetta in mid sixties upon a request from Makkawi who drew the former attention to the life style of the working class. Jahin launched an intensive campaign to familiarize people with it, which made him enter the spotlight despite his death 25 years ago.
Jahin was the first artist to consolidate the Egyptian puppet theater through his productions directed by Salah Al Saqqa and sung by the most prominent pop singers at that time including Mohammed Rushdi, Houriyyah Hasan and Suad Makkawi -- Albawaba.com