Hasan Ahmad Rashid
(حسن أحمد رشيد
; b. July 10, 1896; d. Cairo
, May 25, 1969; also spelled Hasan Rasheed
) was an Egyptian composer
and operatic baritone
. He was part of Egypt's first generation
of classical composers.
As a youth, Rashid studied violin
in Cairo. He went to England in 1914 to pursue studies in agriculture
at Durham University
. While there, he continued his studies in violin, composition, and singing, ocassionally performing in University concerts as a violinist and a baritone. He returned to Cairo in 1918 where he began to compose vocal music
texts. He was part of that nation's first generation of composers to produce classical music
. Rashid's work culminated
in his sole opera Masra' Antonio
(Antony's Death), which has an Arabic
text, based on the first part of Ahmed Shawqi
's play Cleopatra's Death
. The work was influenced by Italian opera, yet Rashid's melodic invention is not without originality. It is the first opera to be composed by an Egyptian. Parts of the work were produced in 1942, but a full staging was not mounted until 1973 by the Egyptian Opera Troupe at the Cairo Opera House
. However, the Egyptian public found it difficult to accept the conventions of Western operatic style, particularly when associated with familiar poetry in Arabic, and Rasheed’s opera had few immediate successors. The opera's overture and the aria Isis, O fount of tenderness
are often performed separately.
Rashid was married to the pianist and composer of children's songs Baheega Sidky Rasheed (1899-1987), who is best known for her 1958 collection entitled Egyptian Folk Songs (republished in the United States as Egyptian Folk Songs in Arabic and English. Together, they founded the Egyptian Amateur Music Association in 1942.