TUTANKHAMON

THE OPERA

 

 

THE STORY

THE COMPOSITOR

THE LIRYCS

EGYPTOLOGIST

THE OPERA

The biggest musical event of 2020 will take place in the marvelous Giza plain, on the occasion of the opening of the new Egyptian Museum in Cairo, an imposing structure that will rise just a few steps from the three most famous pyramids in the world.
The work TUTANKHAMON stages one of the most fascinating periods in history, that of the Pharaoh child and his Court.

ZAHI HAWASS

World-renowned archaeologist Zahi Hawass is the former Minister of Antiquities and Director of Excavations at Giza, Saqqara, Bahariya Oasis, and the Valley of the Kings. Dr. Hawass received his PhD in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied as a Fulbright Fellow.

Dr. Hawass has made a number of major discoveries over the course of his career, including the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis. Dr. Hawass has discovered two previously unknown Old Kingdom pyramids, one near the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, and one belonging to a queen of King Teti at Saqqara. Also at Saqqara, he rediscovered the pyramid of the 6th Dynasty queen Khuit, along with another pyramid that he has determined belonged to a 5th Dynasty queen. Dr. Hawass has been involved in several other important archaeological projects. He led the search for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony on the premises of a Ptolemaic temple near Alexandria. He enriched the search for the so-called the hidden doors inside the Great Pyramid. In addition, Dr. Hawass launched a new excavation under the Nile River’s waters, searching for missing obelisks and statues.

One of the most significant research efforts that Dr. Hawass has managed and led was the Egyptian Mummy Project (EMP), which has used modern forensic techniques such as CT and DNA analysis to answer questions about the royal mummies. Some of the most important discoveries that Dr. Hawass has made through the EMP are his identification of the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the uncovering of the family of King Tutankhamun, and solving the mystery of the murder of Ramesses III. 

As an archaeologist deeply concerned about the conservation and protection of Egypt’s monuments, Dr. Hawass has supervised major conservation projects for the Great Sphinx, and the Serapeum and Step Pyramid at Saqqara. He has developed site management plans for a number of important areas, including the Unfinished Obelisk Quarry in Aswan, the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Dendera, the West Bank of Luxor, Giza, and Saqqara.

He has also initiated the construction of nineteen new museums throughout Egypt, including the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and the National Egyptian Museum of Civilization (NEMC). Under his direction, numerous historical mosques, churches, and synagogues have been restored and reopened to the public.

In a bid to share Egypt’s fantastic archeological riches with the rest of the world, Dr. Hawass has been instrumental in sending exhibitions of the treasures of King Tutankhamun abroad. The exhibits have toured many cities in America, Australia, Europe, and Japan, bringing more than $125 million in revenue to Egypt.

Dr. Hawass’s dynamic personality and extensive knowledge have sparked global interest in ancient Egypt. He has brought the world of the pharaohs into the homes and hearts of people worldwide through his numerous television appearances and books. In 2006, Dr. Hawass received an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a special on ancient Egypt produced by KCBS in Los Angeles. Some of his most popular TV appearances have been Mysteries of the Pyramids, live from Cairo with Omar Sharif; Good Morning America, live from the Great Sphinx with Joan Lunden; and The Today Show with Matt Lauer. He has appeared in three live prime-time productions for Fox Television – the first, in March 1999, was with Maury Povich; the second, in May 2000, was with actor Bill Pullman and host Hugh Downs; and the third was a look behind the hidden doors inside the Great Pyramid through the use of a robot equipped with a fiberoptic camera. Dr. Hawass has also appeared in many documentaries with the BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, PBS, and The Learning Channel. National Geographic has produced a film on his life and work. He has been profiled in print in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the London Times.

His most famous show was Chasing Mummies, while his most recent TV production included the Discovery Live with Josh Gates in April 2019 where the opening of three sarcophagi was streamed live to 95 countries.  

The famous Egyptologist has written many books about ancient Egypt for general audiences, including Silent Images – Women in Pharaonic Egypt; Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt; Secrets from the Sand; Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs; Tutankhamun – The Treasures of the Tomb; Royal Tombs of Egypt – The Art of Thebes Revealed and Mountains of the Pharaohs – The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders. He has also authored several books for children. He writes regular columns for Al-Ahram Weekly and has contributed articles to GEO, along with other popular magazines.

Over the course of his long career, Dr. Hawass has been presented with numerous international awards and honors. In 1998, the President of Egypt bestowed on him the First Class Award for Arts and Sciences, and he also received the Pride of Egypt Award from members of the foreign press in Egypt. He was one of 30 international figures to receive the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in honor of his accomplishments in archaeology. Dr. Hawass has received seven honorary doctorates from various foreign universities. In November 2002, his name was inscribed on a CD carried by the 2003 mission of the Mars Exploration Rover. Time magazine chose him as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People for 2006. The following year he was made an officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2008 he received the rank of commander in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. That same year, Dr. Hawass was presented with a World Tourism Award and designated a Goodwill Ambassador to Japan by the Egyptian and Japanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

He is currently working as a lecturer in Egypt and all over the world. In co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism, he promotes Egypt’s tourism globally. He is also a writer of weekly articles in several Egyptian newspapers and magazines, as well as in Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper issues from London.

His recent books are Giza and the Pyramids, co-authored with Dr. Mark Lehner, was published by Thames &Hudson as well as Zahi Hawass’s Secret Egypt: A Travel Guide which unravels contemporary and ancient Egypt, blending his adventurous with practical tips to visiting the country’s gems. Moreover, Dr. Hawass’s web site is a popular source of information about ancient Egypt and the most recent archeological discoveries.  

LINO ZIMBONE

Music

Originally from Catania, where he cultivated the trumpet studio, Lino Zimbone, he graduated with full marks at the Conservatory of Vibo Valentia. At eighteen he won his first audition at the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, where he will play the role of orchestra professor for almost twenty years. He has collaborated with the major opera and symphonic bodies. After graduating under the guidance of Maestro Giuliano Gioacchino, he perfected his studies with Vincent Penzarella, a former second trumpet at the New York Philharmonic.
After dedicating himself to teaching in musical high schools, he composed the musical “Casanova”.
In 2016 he won the competition for first trumpet at the “Yun Symphony Orchestra” in New York which was followed by an intense concert activity in America and Europe.
Lino Zimbone has collaborated with the greatest exponents of classical music, pop, jazz including Daniel Oren, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Nyman, Billy Cobham etc.

 

FRANCESCO SANTOCONO

LIRYC

Francesco Santocono is a 52-year-old journalist from Catania. Graduated in Law and in Political and Diplomatic Sciences for international relations, he is a lecturer at the Giustino Fortunato University of Benevento at the Law Degree Course. Author of numerous texts in the field of law and communication, he was director of some newspapers, including the scientific one “Markets, Values ​​and Rules”, on whose first issue is also an introduction of “Benedict XVI”.
Passionate about Egyptology, in 2017 he wrote and published the play “The Lotus and the Papyrus”, also presented in Egypt in Cairo and at the Great Library of Alexandria. He recently wrote and directed the film “Me and Freddie. A kind of magic “, a medium-length film with a social background sponsored by the Department of Health of the Sicilian Region.co Santocono is the author of numerous books on communication. University lecturer, he recently published the play “The Lotus and the Papyrus”.

 

STEFANIA SOFRA

EGYPTOLOGIST

Born in Latina, she graduated at the age of only twenty-two years at the “La Sapienza” University in Rome in Classical Literature specializing in Oriental Archaeology, then she get a master’s degree in “Oriental Studies and Oriental Archaeology” discussing a thesis in Egyptology, with full marks. She moved to Egypt and worked at the Archaeological Section of the Italian Embassy in Cairo, where she won a scholarship for studies on the Nubian dynasties.
Professor of Egyptology at private institutes, she participated in excavation campaigns in particular in the archaeological site of Petra and Ajlun, in Jordan. Author of scientific publications on Oriental Archaeology and many Egyptology articles for specialized magazines in the sector, she has collaborated with the Academy of the Embassy of Egypt in Rome for cultural activities and exchanges between Italy and Egypt; she has participated in archaeology TV programme and holds a lot of conferences on Egyptology in Italy and abroad.
Worthy of particular attention is the long-standing collaboration with Prof. Zahi Hawass in different cultural activities linked to Egypt. She cooperates with the Egyptian Museum of Cairo and recently obtained a Master’s Degree in Museology, management and development of cultural heritage, discussing a thesis entitled “The so-called minor Egyptological collections in three case studies: Gregorian Egyptian Museum of Vatican, Museum of Sannio in Benevento and National Archaeological Museum of Naples”.

PREFACE ON THE OPERA

On November 4, 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter made a sensational discovery in the Valley of the Kings: the tomb of Tutankhamon, pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, who ascended the throne in 1332 BC at the age of 9, and died tragically when he was still very young. From that moment on, the discovery has consecrated him forever to history. It is the only tomb of an Egyptian king found intact whose contents, comprising thousands of artifacts made of gold, alabaster, glass, stones, and precious wood, all finely worked and sculpted, offers us direct knowledge of the amazing skills that the ancient Egyptians possessed at the time of the XVIII dynasty, the so-called “golden age.” Tutankhamon is a pharaoh who, in the collective imagination, has fascinated the entire world, evoking riches, treasures, and legends related to his image and above all to his tomb. And today, about one hundred years after the discovery of his tomb, known as KV62, we are going to celebrate him worldwide, through a opera that bears his name “Tutankhamon.” The opera is the result of the talent and professionalism of three great men: Prof. Zahi Hawass, author; Francesco Santocono, librettist; and Lino Zimbone, composer. A Opera that combines the history of Egypt, drama and music in a unique and elegant embrace that takes us back in time, immersing us in the history and imagination of its protagonists. This production will celebrate the long-awaited inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) created to house the incomparable treasures of Tutankhamon’s tomb, and much more. This is the largest museum in the world, a grand structure that will allow the complete treasure of this pharaoh to be brought together and exhibited to the public. Hence a cross-cutting interest for Tutankhamon, the child pharaoh and the treasure preserved in his tomb, thanks to which we can live again in the magic of his time.

Stefania Sofra, egyptologist

CRITALY Srls

Partner of Grande Opera Italia Srl

Selects and takes care of the marketing and communication of Tutankhamun Opera nel Mondo

THE STORY

The Pharaoh Akhenaton learns of the birth of Tutankhaton, heir to the throne conceived with the concubine Iset. Nefertiti, a great royal bride, does not take the news well and, in a moment of despair, is persuaded by the priest Hunu to draw up a plan to kill the infant. The result is an agreement with the King of Kush, whose son is a prisoner of Akhenaton. In the middle of the night, a Kushite squad will attack Tutankhaton’s residence, but the attack will fail. Nefertiti then decides to retire and live in the shadow of her husband until everything is calm. Although suspicions about the queen are ever more intense, Akhenaton decides to name her co-ruler. Shortly after, however, Akhenaton dies and Nefertiti becomes Pharaoh of Egypt and changes his name to Smenkhkare. The Vizier Ay and General Horemeb oppose the idea of a woman as ruler of Egypt and secretly decide to kill her. After drinking a poisoned drink, Nefertiti dies and his place is taken by the young Tutankhaton. The new pharaoh brings the capital back to Thebes and abandons Amarna, restoring the ancient religion of Amon. He himself changes the name to Tutankhamun and marries the princess and sister Ankhsenamon. Soon after, the new king decides to attack Kush and defeats him in a battle in the desert. Returning triumphant, Tutankhamun has an accident and loses his life in a hunting expedition. Left alone, the queen is pressured by the Court to marry the Vizier Ay. Ankhsenamon, however, refuses and proposes to the King of the Hittites to send his son Zannanza to seal, with a political marriage, a new agreement between the two kingdoms. But General Horemeb is lurking and the Hittite Prince will never reach Egypt.

THE PROTAGONISTS 

AKHENATON, Tenor
NEFERTITI, Soprano
AY, Baritone
HOREMEB, Tenor
ISET, Soprano
HUNU, Tenor
TUTANKHAMON, light Tenor
KAABAL, Baritone
QUEEN OF KUSH, Alto

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