An image of the late Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum projected on the opening night of the Baalbek International Festival in Lebanon. Photo: AFP

Now you see her, now you don’t.

Umm Kulthum, the legendary Egyptian singer, will be back on stage 45 years after her death when she features in a hologram concert in Cairo next week.

Dubbed the “star of the orient,” the projection of the Arab diva will appear on the opera house’s stage on March 6. 

“The hologram performance will last between 12 and 15 minutes. It aims to attract younger generations … and connect them with their history,” Magdy Saber, the chairman of the National Cultural Centre, said. 

The show will also include two singers performing Umm Kulthum songs live and is scheduled to last two hours.

A revered icon of Arab music, her career flourished from the 1920s until her death in 1975. 

While her concerts lasted for hours, live radio broadcasts attracted huge audiences.

Commonly known in Egypt as El Set, or “The Lady,” her deep voice is still heard on Egyptian streets and in local cafes, taxis and Nile sailboats. 

Her repertoire of religious, patriotic and romantic songs and poetry reverberated across the Arab world. 

Alf Leila wa Leila, or “A Thousand and one Nights,” and Enta Omri, or “You are my Life,” are among Umm Kulthum’s most enduring hits.

Last year, a hologram concert was held in the glitzy Dubai Opera House in the United Arab Emirates. 

“Our vision was to create a nostalgic experience,” Hasan Hina, the show’s director, told Arab Weekly. “Utilizing the highest standards of video production, we created holographic content capable of restoring not only the memory but all the details of the magnificent persona of Umm Kulthum.”

Still, last week, Egypt’s culture ministry said the hologram concert “aims to confront vulgarity and redirect attention to our arts heritage.”

Earlier in February, the union for Egyptian musicians banned performances of popular electro street music known as mahraganat, which is viewed by conservatives as overstepping moral boundaries.

additional reporting by AFP

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