‘No to Brotherhoodization’: Cairo Opera House workers strike to protest Islamist interference

National Post | News

CAIRO, Egypt — The Cairo Opera House has become a new battleground between supporters and opponents of Egypt’s Islamist president, this time fighting over the direction of the Middle East’s oldest music institution.

The new culture minister fired the head of the opera house, part of a shakeup he said is aimed at injecting “new blood” across art and culture programs he says were stagnant and corrupt.

But staffers are refusing any other boss to replace Enas Abdel-Dayem. Tuesday night, they protested outside her office, accusing the minister of bending to pressure from Islamists, and some held a sit in overnight to prevent any replacement from entering.

Staffers have also closed the curtain on all performances. For the first time in the opera house’s history, the opera Aida — composed by Giuseppe Verdi and debuted to the world in 1871 in Cairo— was cancelled in protest. Singers instead held up…

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