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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Giza pyramids Aida cancelled
Aida was last performed at the pyramids in 1999
Aida was last performed at the pyramids in 1999
Performances of the opera Aida, due to take place in the shadow of the Egyptian pyramids, have been cancelled in the wake of the attacks on the United States.

The shows were due to take place in October and attract up to 26,000 people over six nights.

But it will now not go ahead for the second year in a row despite usually being an annual event.

More than 1,000 artists were to take part
More than 1,000 artists were to take part
"We do not feel there is a general atmosphere of festivities around the world," executive producer Hassan Kamy said.

"The whole world is a little bit sad, and we are probably going to [have] more sadness for a while."

This presentation of Giuseppe Verdi's opera, set in ancient Egypt, was due to feature more than 1,000 artists plus a choir and an orchestra.

"It would have been the greatest [performance] ever," Mr Kamy said. "This year we were all inspired."

The culture ministry cancelled the shows after some foreign tour groups called off their trips, fearing possible violence after the attacks.

Traditional home

Last year's performances did not go ahead because organisers said they wanted to focus resources on this year's shows, which would have coincided with the centenary of Verdi's death.

The annual performances were moved to the 4,500-year-old Giza pyramids in 1998 from what had become their traditional home of Luxor, one of the country's most popular tourists sites.

Aida was performed to 70,000 people in Paris
Aida was performed to 70,000 people in Paris
It was moved after 58 tourists were killed there by militants in 1997.

Aida is a classic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and death that tells the story of an Egyptian princess who falls in love with an army commander.

It was commissioned by Egypt's Khedive Ismail and composed in 1869 to mark the opening of both the Cairo Opera and the Suez Canal.

Another giant performance of the opera, for 70,000 spectators at the Stade de France in Paris, did go ahead on Friday.

See also:

04 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Shanghai stages biggest Aida
14 Oct 98 | Middle East
Aida comes home
27 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Giuseppe Verdi: Symbol of Italy
18 Nov 97 | World
Tourists massacred at temple
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