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Cairo Opera House
The modern Cairo Opera House was built in 1988 with Japanese cooperation. Its monumental location in the heart of the Gezira, the northern Nile island in the centre of Cairo, was a symbolic move meant to keep Egypt in the cultural limelight. The same is said about Khedive Ismail's decision in 1869 to build the Khedivial Opera House (later known as the Royal Opera House) for the inauguration of the Suez Canal. He employed Italian architects to swiftly complete an opera house modelled after la Scala in Milan, and commissioned Giuseppe Verdi to write Aida to be premiered at his new theatre. The Khedivial Opera was located at Midan Opera (Opera Square in Downtown Cairo) next to the beautiful Ezbekiya Gardens (see last attached photo, image captured from a YouTube video of Cairo in 1956). In 1971, exactly 100 years after its opening, the Royal Opera House tragically burnt down to the ground, leaving no trace except its namesake square as a reminder of its existence. Sadly, in the 70s the old opera was replaced with an offensive office building and a multi-level car park, two architectural insults! The modern opera house has a small museum dedicated to the original Royal Opera House with a display of photos and memorabilia from its predecessor.
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Opera House is a seven story building designed by a team of Japanese and Egyptian architects. The Islamic design is recognizable, as a matter of fact, it is considered a masterpiece of the oriental architecture. On the contrast to the exterior the inside is decorated in contemporary style. The art gallery, the opera museum and a music library are located within the complex in the separate buildings. The complex as a whole creates Egypt’s National Cultural center.
Cairo opera house
The new 7 -story opera house at the Gezira Exhibition Grounds was inaugurated on October, 3, 1988. Designed by a team of Japanese and Egyptian architects, it is an architectural masterpiece of Islamic design. It is equipped with the most sophisticated audio-visual system and comprises:
1.The Main Theater, a closed hall comprising 1200 seats, is used for opera, ballet, and classic music performance.
2.The Second Theater is also a closed hall comprising 500 seats and is used for various purposes, including film festivals and conferences.
3.The Third Theater is open and comprises 1000 seats.
There are other halls, some of which are used for training and rehearsals. In addition, the Museum and the Library contain references pertaining to the most significant artistic works.
Cairo becomes alive at night, the best time to shop, eat delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, or simply watch the world go by from a pavement cafe. You can dine in a floating restaurant on the Nile, sample a shisha at a coffee-shop or see oriental dancers at a luxury hotel. The splendid Opera House complex houses several galleries (including the Museum of Modern Art), restaurants and concert halls. Listening to Arabic music under the stars, in the open air
theater, is a magical experience. At El-Ghuriya, in the heart of Islamic Cairo, you can watch folk musicians and whirling dervish dancers. And don't forget the most essential after-dark experience, the sound and light show at the Pyramids, a dramatic fusion of light and music recounting the story of antiquity.
The Opera House
The original Opera House was burned down, but the new one built in Zamalek was constructed by the Japanese.
It regularly has concerts, though I have only been once to a celebration for UN day when there was an Egyptian BAllet. A rather ostentatious name for what is more a folk dance troupe. It was enjoyable none the less.
There is also the Cairo Opera Gallery open daily except Fridays 10am -2pm and 4.30pm-8.30 pm, where exhibitions of paintings are held.
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Opened in 1988, the Opera House complex is a stunning jewel of postmodernist architecture incorporating Islamic and Pharaonic motifs. There are two opera halls, one of which is strictly jacket-and-tie while the other is a little more laid back. The complex also offers an open-air theatre and an amphitheatre for summer performances. There is always something going on here, usually more than one event per night, so it is advisable to call ahead or check local newspapers for a schedule. International music, ballet and opera troupes perform here throughout the year and tickets cost a fraction of what one would pay to see the same performance elsewhere.
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At the southern end of the large island Gezira in the Nile are two museums and the Opera House. We visited the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art and walked around the Opera House. There were no performarances during our visit. So we could only have a look at the large intriguing billboard of Aida.
- Theater Travel
13.The new 7-storey Opera...
13.The new 7-storey Opera House at El-Dokky, on the Gezira Exhibition Grounds, was inaugurated on October 3, 1988. Designed by a team of Japanese and Egyptian architects, it is an architectural masterpiece of Islamic design. It is equipped with the most sophisticated audio-visual systems.
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Cairo Travel Guide
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