- Title: EGYPT: French musical troupe finds music in stone at Cairo Opera House
- Date: 3rd July 2008
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH DIRECTOR MICHEL RISSE OF Dï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½COR SONORE TROUPE SAYING: "It is really important to open your ears and listen to what is already there, you do not even have to interfere with it, sometimes you have to just show it and make it listenable."
- Embargoed: 18th July 2008 15:02
- Location: Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA6VP9P6LK8Q22SNKR4DM23HS79
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: French composer-director Michel Risse and his Decor Sonore troupe turn the massive concrete structure of the Cairo Opera House into a giant musical instrument in a performance.
Musicians and technicians thumped the walls, rubbed the ramparts with brushes, probed the fishponds with rods wired with sensors, and even explored the acoustic potential of the metal fire escape.
The Opera House is the 13th structure that Decor Sonore has played its Monument-Instrument Programme. Other venues include a castle, a bridge over the River Marne in France, a spa resort, a law court, a swimming pool and a Dutch tugboat.
The window frames, railings, marble plaques and assorted statuary and furniture were all used in the one-hour show on Wednesday (July 2), which members of the audience called amazing and "really cool".
Michel Risse, the composer-director of the troop, said the building was not his immediate choice when the French government commissioned him to do a show in the Egyptian capital.
Other options included the late 19th century Egyptian Museum, the 14th century Amir Taz palace in the old city and the Citadel built by the warrior sultan Saladin.
But the Opera House, opened 20 years ago on an island in the Nile, was the one which offered the best public space.
Risse said he approaches each structure as though asking it questions and hearing how it responds. He uses a stethoscope as he rubs or taps it or hits it with a drumstick, looking for the places to put sensitive microphones for the best effect.
"It is really important to open your ears and listen to what is already there, you do not even have to interfere with it, sometimes you have to just show it and make it listenable," he said after Wednesday's show.
At the start of the show, Egyptian singer Dalia Farouk takes as the base drone for her chant the pitch of a huge air conditioner in an art museum in the garden.
"He (director) gave me space that was different from what I experienced before. I discovered that I can really do more, and I discovered new skills," Farouk said.
And the audience seemed to enjoy the unique event.
"It is very nice, it is a masterpiece, and it is the first time I have seen such a thing, I am very happy," said Nuha, an audience member.
Another spectator said, "It is nice and new, makes you listen to new things. We got used to listening but now we can see and wonder where the sound comes from, it is really a very nice thing."
Risse, a rock drummer in the 1970s who later studied percussion formally and then played jazz, started the monuments programme. It receives commissions from towns and other institutions and never charges members of the audience.
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