Cairo Opera House
Tuesday، 28 December 2021 - 01:22 PM
The establishment of the ancient opera house is closely related to the opening of the Suez Canal during the reign of Khedive Ismail, who was passionate about arts; therefore, it was called the Khedive Opera. Due to Khedive Ismail’s love and passion for high art, he wanted the Khedivial Opera House to be an architectural masterpiece no less than its counterparts in the world. He employed a number of painters, sculptors, and photographers to decorate the opera.
The Khedivial Opera was opened on November 1, 1869 with the celebrations of the Suez Canal, and despite Khedive Ismail’s interest and firm desire to open the Khedivial Opera House with the performance of Opera Aida, circumstances prevented presenting it on the opening date, and it was opened with Rigoletto Opera. The ancient opera was the first opera in Africa, including a theater that was considered one of the largest, well-prepared and luxurious theaters in the world. At the dawn of the twenty-eighth of October 1971, the ancient Opera House was completely burnt down, leaving only the statues of "Al-Rakhaa" (welfare) and "Nahdat al-Funun" (Renaissance of arts), which are the works of the artist Muhammad Hassan.
The National Cultural Center known as (Cairo Opera House) is one of the most important cultural beacons in Egypt. Since the inauguration of the new Opera House by former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak on October 10, 1988, after seventeen years closure, it provides various high-profile activities and creative arts at affordable prices (most of the time), with the aim of attracting the masses. The successive administrations were keen to present a variety of lyrical and musical arts in addition to the opera, so as to communicate with different categories of society. Consequently, the opera is no longer restricted to a certain group of the educated class (and in formal clothes), but has become a center for many groups of society, especially youths.
The National Cultural Center Authority cooperates with many other cultural bodies in performing its cultural and educational role in coordination between them to achieve optimal performance. These bodies include the Academy of Arts and the Mass Culture Authority. The Cultural Center carries out its activities through:
It is a theater dedicated to the largest Egyptian and international performances. It has been equipped with recent technologies against fires. It has a capacity of 1200 seats.
It is dedicated to small performances, cultural evenings and seminars. It has a capacity of about 500 seats.
The open theater
This theater has been designated for summer and youth performances, with a capacity of about 600 seats. It hosted many local and international performances.
The center's administration is interested in presenting performances abroad, in order to spread high Egyptian art. The center cooperates with the Ministry of Youth to hold many concerts in the governorates.
The center publishes distinguished publications that express its goal and activity. There are translations of the most famous international operas (Carmen - La Traviana - Aida). Moreover, the center is keen to publish its annual program so that it is accessible to people. Besides, the center has also paid due attention to have a special magazine called (Opera Magazine) to highlight the artistic activities of the opera in particular, and the artistic and cultural activities in general.
National Cultural Center Festivals
The center holds many annual festivals; the most important of which is the Arab Music Festival, which is held annually. The center also participates with its bands in the opening of many other art festivals.
Fine Arts Hall Activities
A fine arts hall is attached to the opera house building. It consists of two floors, executed in a sophisticated manner. The area of each floor is 120 m. It is worth mentioning that the artistic activity that takes place in this hall is documented by making recording tapes for the most important exhibitions that are held in it, and they are kept inside the music library to be used by art colleges’ students and art connoisseurs. It also holds collective and individual art exhibitions for many Egyptian and international arts artists, with the aim of spreading fine art and keeping pace with the international art movement.
Cairo Opera House Museum
It is located on the first floor of the Opera House, and it contains two pavilions. The first one is for all the historical documents obtained from the families of the pioneers. As for the second pavilion, it includes posters and catalogs for some of the important performances that were presented at the three opera theaters, as well as the most important cultural activities that were presented in them.
It contains Arabic and foreign books in different fields. It also contains most of the works presented online. It also contains many musical compositions by Egyptian and foreign authors. The library makes its contents available to researchers and scholars.