Cairo Opera House cancels Ramadan Evenings

The Cairo Opera House has cancelled this year's Ramadan Evenings over security concerns in the capital. The programme of events, which was reportedly to be smaller than usual, had been scheduled to take place between 23 July and 6 August.

"The cancellation is for security reasons in response to the current circumstances in the country and the ongoing violence, which we are afraid might continue in the upcoming several days," management said.

The opera house's new season is scheduled to begin again in September although it has yet to reveal its programme for the 2013/2014 season.

Prior to the removal of President Mohammed Morsi from power on 3 July, the opera house took centre stage in a row between supporters and opponents of the Islamist leader.

On 28 May members of management were joined by opera performers in a strike to protest the sacking of Cairo Opera director Ines Abdel-Dayem by the Islamist culture minister Alaa Abdelaziz. The minister had been appointed earlier that month and within a couple of weeks had fired a number of senior art leaders. He quickly became a deeply unpopular figure among the Egyptian art scene, a sector of society which is traditionally hostile to Morsi's party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdulaziz lasted only one month in the culture portfolio and was replaced by Saber Arab on 16 June. Chief among the new minister’s tasks has been to try and retrieve the roughly $1 million in annual arts prizes which were blocked by Abdulaziz before ceding to the finance ministry on 20 June with the end of the Egyptian fiscal year.

The finance ministry is said to be “considering” the request by Arab who hopes to disburse the funds as normal in August.

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