After the huge success it witnessed last year, the second Manial Palace Festival for classical music is to kick off on 28 October. In the heart of Cairo’s glorious Mohammed Ali Palace, overlooking the Blue River, the public is invited to experience the second edition of the festival, where a large number of international classical music artists will gather in concert.
The festival is organised by the Friends of the Manial Palace Museum Association (FMPM), under the umbrellas of both Ministries of Culture and Antiquities, and financed by the European Union. It is also sponsored by several foreign embassies in Egypt, including the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Cairo, and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, as well as the French, Italian, and Austrian Cultural Centres.
“We were encouraged by the major success of the first edition last year that we have decided to make some expansions in the second edition that we have been preparing for a year now,” said Prince Abbas Helmy, the head of FMPM, adding that “the new edition is distinguished with the artistic diversity that creates a unique combination between universal classical music and our special traditional works.”
The FMPM is a non- profit voluntary organisation in 2005 headed by Prince Abbas Helmy grandson of Khedive Abbas Helmy and nephew Prince Mohamed Ali Tewfik, the founder of the museum in the palace.
The festival aims to shed light on some of Egypt’s most important antique buildings, as well as highlight the importance of their restoration. Some of last year’s revenues went to preserve some of the late king’s antique collection in the palace and develop the museum’s display and lightening system.
It also targets highlighting the charm of the mixed European and Islamic designs of the royal house, built by Prince Mohammed Ali Tawfik. Through several classical music concerts, the world’s best musicians will get the chance to play inside the halls of the custom mansion.
“The festival aims to ameliorate popular taste and revive Egyptian musical heritage through joint concerts and workshops between musicians from different parts of the world,” Prince Helmy pointed out.
This year’s revues are dedicated to training the curators of Mohammed Ali Museum, as well as organising school trips for the museum dedicated to schools in underprivileged areas.
The Manial Palace was built between 1899 and 1929 and was handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities in 1955. It still showcases the personal belongings of Mohammed Ali. This year’s festival celebrates the 144th anniversary of the birth of Prince Mohamed Ali.