Opera House in Cairo

Posted On : 27/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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The Opera House in Cairo is a cultural center that hosts art exhibitions in Egypt. The opera house includes most of the musical and artistic groups.

Where is The Egyptian Opera House located?

The opera house is located on the island of Zamalek near the center of Cairo and the house was built in the Islamic style.

The distinction of the island of Zamalek, which is located in the southern part of the island, and the abundance of water of the Nile and the abundance of trees in the surrounding garden in this area, has enabled this place to be an excellent natural place for the new opera house.


The history of the construction of the ancient opera was closely connected with the opening of the Suez Canal during the reign of the arts enthusiast Khedive Ismail, and hence it was called the Khedivial Opera

The Khedive took this opportunity to lay the foundations of an eloquent and enduring symbol of art.

The Opera House in Cairo was built in just six months to a design by two Italian architects, Avoscani and Rossi, who are outstanding specialists with extensive experience in construction.

The site of the work was chosen so as to mediate two of the most important districts of Cairo at the time, namely Al-Azbakeya and Ismailia. Its construction cost one million six hundred thousand Egyptian pounds.

Years passed and Cairo expanded and the Opera Square which was named after the theater is still a testament to this unique site.

It is also a testament to its artistic history as it is an architectural masterpiece that is no less than its counterparts in the world. 

The inauguration

The Opera House was inaugurated on November 1, 1869, with the celebrations of the Suez Canal.

The Khedive Ismail was accompanied at the opening ceremony by Empress Eugenia de Montijo, wife of Emperor Napoleon III.

Despite the interest of the Khedive Ismail and his desire to open the Khedivial Opera House with the presentation of the Aida opera, which has been spent heavily in the cost of clothing, scenery and decorations to produce the Aida opera in the best way .

However, on the specified date, circumstances prevented him from presenting it at the opening date, and it appeared two years after the opening, on December 24, 1871.

Khedive's opera opened with the performance of Rigoletto, the music of which was composed by Giuseppe Verdi

The fire of the Opera House

Early in the morning of October 28, 1971, the grand Royal Opera House tragically burned down. Nothing is left except two statues made by the Egyptian artist Mohamed Hassan (1892-1961). 

The opera house was built in the 1980s to replace the Khedive's original Cairo Opera House which was destroyed by fire in 1971.

The opera was built as part of the National Cultural Center, which includes three stage spaces. The Opera House hosts a wide variety of performances, from opera to classical music, from ballet to the theatrical genre.

How was the preparation for the new opera?

There was a collaboration for the construction of the new opera house between the Japan International Coordinated Cooperation Agency and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in Cairo.

They agreed that the design was in line with the buildings surrounding the house and the design was characterized by a modern Islamic architectural character.

What is the construction area of the opera house?

The building area comprises 22772 m2, while the building itself is located on an area of 13855 m2, with a maximum height of 42 meters.

When was the site designed? 

The project was carried out in March 1985 AD 

How long did the construction work take?

It took a year and a half to finish the construction, and the work was completed on March 31, 1988, i.e. 34 months after the start of the works. 

What does the Egyptian Opera House include?

The opera includes 3 theaters: "the large 1200 seater, the small 500 seater and the open 600 seater".

It also includes the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and the National Arab Music Band.

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By Kate Clark

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