Volume I, Number 3 August 1st, 2000
The Cairo Opera House
The Opera House is a central reservoir of culture and entertainment in Cairo, and for that matter, the world. This facility was inaugurated on October 10th, 1988, some 17 years after the former Opera House in Cairo burnt to the ground in 1971. The new Opera House, which was a gift to Egypt from Japan, carries on a great tradition by the prior facility, which was inaugurated in 1869 by the Khedive Ismail to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. Located on Gezira Island, the new Opera House is surrounded by the Museum of Egyptian Modern Arts, the Nile Gallery, the Plastic Artists Association, and the El Hangar theater.
The Opera House has a number of permanent companies, including the Cairo Opera Company, Cairo Opera Ballet Company, Cairo Opera Choir, Cairo Opera Children choir, Chair Symphony Orchestra, the National Arabic Music ensemble and the Religious Song Ensemble.
Probably the most noted Cairo Opera Company performances is of Aida, which has been performed for many years. However, the company's repertoire includes Orfeo, the Dancing Years, La Boheme, II Trovatore, Cavalleria Rusficana, Paglicci Rigolefto, Carmen, Tosca, Madam Butterfly, Le Nozze Di figaro and Don Giovanni.
The Cairo Opera Ballet was established in 1966, so is somewhat of a late comer to the Cairo Opera House. The Ballet has been on the road considerably, performing in Russia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, France and Tunis.Also, ballets from other countries come to Egypt to perform ate Cairo Opera House. It has about 40 dancers including 25 Egyptians and 15 Russians.
The Cairo Opera Choir, somewhat older than the Ballet, presents choral works during the opera season, while the Children Chor, recently formed in 1989, consists of about 250 girls and boys and presents traditional songs and music.
The Cairo Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1959, though their history extends prior to this. A part of the National Cultural Center, they perform in all opera productions. See the above link for information and schedules for the current season.
Another recent addition is the National Arabic Music Ensemble, which was organized in 1989. They one the Golden Medal, and their conductor, Dr. Ratiba El Hefny won a Silver in the 1989 Babylon Festival.
Finally, the Religious Song Ensemble was established in 196 with the objective of reviving and preserving traditional Arabic Song and Music.
But the Cairo Opera House is more than just these companies. For example, currently there is an exhibition of Egyptian and Finnish artists at the Opera House. In June, Unit Semba from Japan provided a Jazz concert in the small hall, and it is not unusual for foreign productions to take place at the Opera House. In fact, such performances are common and groups from all over the world perform at the facilities.
What a lot of people will appreciate is that the Opera House is about to be on-line, with not only schedules, but on-line ticket reservations. In fact, they are installing sophisticated programming used by airlines and others and it has been reported that we will soon be able to purchase tickets for popular operas such as Aida through Ticket Masters. Even now, the Opera House has an on-line ticket operation that can be accessed by many travel agencies.
Budget and Independent Travel to Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn
Historical Hotels in Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn
Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes
Book Reviews Various Editors
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich
Hotel Reviews By Juergen Stryjak
Egyptian Exhibitions By deTraci Regula
Nightlife Various Editors
Restaurant Reviews Various Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Medical Advice in Egypt By Omar Ragab.