A Night Out at the Cairo Opera House (& Museum)
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
When you think of Egypt, you don't often think of opera houses, yet Egypt has a strong history of opera and theatre, and even has the fifth oldest opera house in the world in Alexandria. Although Cairo's historic Khedive Opera House, the first in Africa, burnt down in 1971, a new one was built in Zamalek, and it's well worth a visit, whether to see a performance or just have a look around.
The Cairo Opera House is a fantastic example of modern Arab architecture that mixes form and utility. It's a joy to walk around the building, admiring its design, especially at night when it is illuminated with different coloured lights.
The opera also has expansive gardens and courtyards that are great to walk around. Among the fauna are statues of Egyptian greats like Om Kalthoum (pictured below).
But the best thing you can do there is get some tickets for a show! The Cairo Opera House has a great and varied program all-year-round, with something for everyone. Although the tickets are affordable, smart attire is a must, with ties for men mandatory. It's a great excuse to dress up smart and Cairenes love to come for the occasion, if not for the music or performance. We'd recommend Opera Aida if it's on!
The Cairo Opera House also has a fantastic, albeit small, museum that documents the opera's famous performances and events over the years. The great selection of photographs, props, costumes, instruments and letters is fascinating and well worth coming to the opera early for! It's on the main building's first floor, opposite the entrance to the main hall.