Today's Google Doodle: Ratiba El-Hefny

Ratiba El-Hefny’s 86th Birthday

Ratiba El-Hefny

In the year 1961, for an admission price of six piaster, Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House opened its doors to the general public for a very special performance — Franz Lehár’s ‘The Merry Widow,’ translated into Arabic and performed by famed Arab soprano, Ratiba El-Hefny. It was the first time that the world of opera opened up to every Egyptian. The performance also propelled Ratiba El-Hefny to a career that spanned more than 500 operatic performances, winning her fame and recognition at home and abroad.

El-Hefny learned to play piano at a very young age, achieving professional proficiency. She was also adept at traditional instruments such as the qanun and the oud. Her fluency in classical and Arabic music led to operatic performances in Egypt and across Europe. German lieds were another speciality.

El-Hefny held several senior influential positions, including the Dean of the Higher Institute of Arabic Music for almost a decade. Her special passion was opening up the world of music to children, and to this end she encouraged the Cairo Opera Children’s Choir and Oum Koulthum Ensemble for Arabic Music.

On what would have been El-Hefny’s 86th birthday, today’s Doodle showcases her love for the piano, her encouragement of young musical talent, and her excellence in Arabic and classical music.

Source: Google Doodle

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