Celebrations of the Khedive Opera House in the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome - ET
CAIRO - 16 January 2020: Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem said that the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Khedive Opera confirm Egypt's cultural leadership.
Egypt is the first country in the Arab region and Africa to ever establish an opera house. Abdel Dayem noted that the Khedive Opera remained the first and only cultural beacon in the Middle East for more than a century until a fire burned it down in 1971, and that Egypt was and will remain a focal point for interaction between the countries of the world and a center of thought and culture.
The Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome, in cooperation with the Egyptian Opera House organized an artistic evening that was attended by Egyptian Ambassador to Italy Hisham Badr, Head of the Arab League Mission in Rome Inas Mekawi, and a selection of Arab and African diplomats and prominent individuals in the Italian community.
The celebrations included the screening of a documentary film about the art of opera in Egypt since the opening of the Khedive Opera, followed by a selection of the most famous classical international operas, performed by group of Cairo opera stars, including Iman Mustafa, Mona Rafla, Laila Ibrahim, Amr Ahmed and Adel Sabry.
It is worth noting that the Khedive Opera House or the Royal Opera House opened on November 1, 1869, and burned down on October 28, 1971. It was considered the first opera house in Africa and the Middle East. The opera house was built as per Khedive Ismail's order to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. It was made of wood and had a capacity of 850 seats.
The Royal Opera was located between Azbakeya area and Ismailia Square (presently Tahrir Square) in the capital of Egypt.