Conférence : Adam Mestyan, “Harun al-Rashid under Occupation. The Khedive, the Opera House and the Comité des Théâtres, 1882-1892” — IFAO, 18h, 29/01/2014

This presentation focuses on the origins of cultural politics in modern Egypt. It presents a microhistory of the administration of the Khedivial Opera House during the first decade of the British occupation. Five protagonists are introduced: the Khedive Tevfik, the colonial financial administrators, Ahmet Muhtar Pasha (the Ottoman High Commissioner), the Syrian theatre makers, and the mixed Egyptian patriotic elite. All retained their interests in forming the representation of the Egyptian state in the public sphere. Especially Khedive Tevfik attempted to regain legitimacy by supporting Arabic cultural products, such as selected, dignifying theatre performances in Arabic. As a result, the contested official state culture allowed concealed interactions between the ruler and new middling bourgeois groups.

In connection with this lecture, The Hungarian Cultural Institute will show the documentary film:« The Burning of the Cairo Opera House » by Mr. Kamal Abdalaziz (president of the Egyptian Film Center) on 5th February at 6 pm (Balassi Institute, Downtown, 13 Gawad Hosni, 2nd floor).

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