2002 _____ _____ _____
On October 16th 2002, the grand opening of the new Library in Alexandria, Egypt took place, with an audience of dignitaries and royalty from around the world celebrating the opening of this UNESCO sponsored library, which is seen as a resurrection of the centre of wisdom and learning that Bibliotheca Alexandrina used to be in ancient times. Nedland Kultur had the honour of being responsible for the music programme for the opening ceremoney of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Egyptian TV and a Norwegian TV company collaborated to cover the opening event, which was planned and directed by the Norwegian theatre director Bentein Baardson. The Norwegian composer Haakon Berge wrote incidental music for the ceremony, and directed the BIT ensemble and the library’s own chamber orchestra. Nedland Kultur provided a selection of artists, reflecting the global ambitions of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to once again become the center of learing for the whole world.
The original library dominated the ancient world of learning from approximately the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. It was built to assemble in one place all the books and all the wisdom in the world, and it held about 700.000 scrolls, before it was reduced to ruins.The Norwgian architect company Snøhetta won the competition to create the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and came up with a spectacular building.
The CD produced to celebrate 100 years of the Nobel Peace Prize (see separate article) was a model for the musical and artistic profile the Egyptians wanted (It was even said that Sonia Mubarak, the wife of Egypts now toppled dictator, had a special liking for the Nobel CD, and wanted its artistic profile to be reflected in the inauguration program). However that may be, Sigbjørn Nedland from Nedland Kultur was asked to find the artists and put together the music program, and some of the artists from the Nobel CD were included in the program: Sinead O’Connor, Kavita Krishnamurti and Dr. L. Subramaniam
The opening ceremony focused on the global role to be played by the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and to reflect this, the artist selection included representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. Sinead O’Connor from Ireland represented Europe. Dr. L. Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurti from India represented Asia. Africa was represented by Jabu Khanylie & Bayetefrom South Africa From South America, Lidia Borda, a tango artist from Argentina, was selected, and from North America, Randy Weston, jazz pianist from Brooklyn, New York.
Because of Norway’s deep involvement in the project, Nedland Kultur was allowed to bring a Norwegian act to perform the very opening number of the ceremony. The singer Anneli Drecker from Tromsø in Northern Norway was selected, and she chose to invite the Sami singer Lawra Somby to join her for the opening number. Another specially invited artist who performed, was Palle Mikkelborg, the danish jazz trumpeter, who composed “To Read is to Dream” specially for the inauguration.
The inauguration ceremony was broadcast live to many million viewers in the Middle East and the rest of the world. The event was taking place in the main hall of the library, and the artist were performing in different locations in the impressive hall, some between the bookshelves, some up under the roof, some on the lower floor.The main guests of honour were the Egyptian, French and Italian presidents, and the queens of Spain and Jordan.
Lidia Borda’s performance at the inauguration of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina