Egyptian Tourist Authority Press Release - Twelve Dreams of the Sun

Press Release

Egyptian Tourist Authority

July 20, 1999

Dreaming into the Next Millennium:

Twelve Dreams of the Sun

Jean Michel Jarre is composing The Twelve Dreams of the Sun, an all-night, avante-garde opera spectacular outdoors on the Giza Plateau and will incorporate the pyramids and the Sphinx as the gala epic unfolds under the stars.

This extraordinary original multimedia extravanganza has been conceived by Jarre to accompany the sun as it passes from the 2nd into the 3rd millennium. Starting at 7:00 pm on December 31, 1999, and ending at 7:00 am on January 1, 2000, the 12-hour-long opera is composed of twelve acts, each honoring the sun as it passes through the world's twelve time zones. It is planned that each act will culminate exactly at midnight in the individual time zones.

As Jarre's most ambitious project to date, the Twelve Dreams opera will incorporate electronic music, gigantic laser effects, state-of-the-art sound systems, a phalanx of computers, generators, highly original film, dramatic staging, over-the-top props, armies of singers, musicians, technicians, and enough electrical and creative power to keep millions buzzing into the next millennium (a live global TV remote is being planned, so stay tuned to Egypt).

One important musical feature already announced is that Jarre is planning to incorporate into the opera a special tribute to Egypt's most famous classical Arab singer/writer, Umm Kalthoum. She is regarded as a national treasure.

Also, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra will be performing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the start of the twelve-hour program.

Another feature planned for the celebration - 2000 school children will enter the Giza site in procession, each carrying a lighted candle to symbolize the start of the year 2000!

In addition, throughout the 12-hour opera, fantastic laser images will be projected onto the pyramids' ancient surfaces and outline their brilliant geometry against the night sky.

According to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director of the Pyramids, fireworks will be banned to protect the ancient structures.

At midnight, a helicopter will fly into the site, and hovering in a starburst of lasers and spotlights, will place a gigantic gilded cap atop the Great Pyramid - all to the accompaniment of what is expected to be an unprecedented jarre crescendo of electronic music. The gold cap, approximately 28 feet high (or about the size of a two-story house) is being especially constructed to protect the pyramid structure. In place, it will catch the first light of the new millennium as the sun rises over Egypt. Capping pyramids with gold and timing important events to the setting and rising of the sun are very much part of the ancient Egyptian pharoanic tradition, making this piece of Jarre theater particularly meaningful.

The construction of the gold cap to be fitted onto the Great Pyramid is getting the closest scrutiny from Dr. Hawass as well, to ensure safety to the structure of the nearly 5,000 year old monument.

In the broad sweeping area atop the Giza Plateau with a spectacular 180 view of all three pyramids, known appropriately as the Pyramids Panorama, a semicircle of twenty voluminous party tents will be erected and elegantly decorated for the long millennium gala.

Inside each, a select group of Egypt's most famous five-star hotels will provide gourmet catering, dancing, and even plush resting areas as elegant guests from around the world play out the twelve-hour celebration. Shuttle buses between the tents and Cairo's hotels will be provided throughout the night for these VIP guests. Tickets for most of the Pyramids' party tents, at $400 per person, are being offered only through travel agencies as part of millennium tour packages.