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New Opera About King Tutankhamen's Life to Premiere with Grand Egyptian Museum's Opening

The opera will bring the greatest treasures of Ancient Egypt to life in late 2020

Tutankhamen Burial mask

An opera celebrating King Tutankhamen's story and penned by former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass will soon make its way on stage! The opera is set to be performed at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo in 2020, during the museum's grand opening.

During a press conference last September, Hawass said, "When you write a script for an opera, you do not need to [adhere] 100 percent to history, because history is boring. You need to bring the feeling."

The story of the opera, according to Hawass, will primarily revolve around Tutankhamen's ascension to the throne, starting with the death of his father, King Akhenaten. The story will feature key moments of his life, including a dramatic scene with Queen Nefertiti, who attempts to have Tutankhamen assassinated.

Queen Nefertiti, mourning her husband's death, recalls that she only gave birth to daughters with him. When Tutankhamen - who is born out of a union between King Akhenaten and another woman - is to become king, Queen Nefertiti grows hateful and discusses the possibility of his death with a conspiring priest. Another scene establishes that Queen Nefertiti assumes rule over Egypt, only to be poisoned by a harem woman - a murder that allows for Tutankhamen's hasty coronation.

The opera - which was co-written by Hawass and Francesco Santocono, with music composed by Lino Zimbone - covers Tutankhamen's life until his unexpected death when he was 19 years old. While the opera is planned to premiere alongside the Grand Egyptian Museum, Hawass has discussed the possibility for future productions of the show. "[It would be] nice to stage it in the West Valley of the Kings in 2022," Hawass said, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Howard Carter's uncovering of Tutankhamen's tomb.


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