Cairo Opera House on strike

The management of Cairo Opera House as well as the cast of current production Aida have gone on strike in protest over the sacking of Cairo Opera director Ines Abdel-Dayem by the newly-appointed culture minister Alaa Abdelaziz on 28 May.

In his three-week tenure, the minister had already fired the heads of the Egyptian General Book Authority and the Fine Arts Council before firing Abdel-Dayem and appointing the opera's artistic director Reda El-Wakil in her place.

The opera management claim Abel-Dayem was dismissed without "plausible or legal" reasons, and her replacement has refused to accept his new role. Joining the protesters, the opera's principal conductor Nayer Nagui accused the government of attempting to "destroy culture and fine arts in Egypt" and called for the resignation of the culture minister.

The minister has proved unpopular with Cairo's art scene which is traditionally hostile to his party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Celebrated composer and pianist Omar Khairat has cancelled his upcoming performances at the opera house in solidarity with the strikers who also have the support of the National Conference for the Egyptian Theatre.