Cairo – Day 16

Cairo Opera House

Thursday, Aunt Deborah and I visited the Cairo Opera House.  We had hoped to speak to the director about a possible internship, but he was not in the office when we arrived.  Instead, we spoke to his secretary.  She told us that they do not offer internships paid or unpaid.

The secretary arranged for us to have a private tour of the Opera House and the Music Library.   The Opera House consists of three stages—the main hall, which seats 1000 people, the small hall, which seats 600, and an open air theater.  The main hall had a private box for Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak when he comes.

Inside the Opera House with President Mubarak's private box

When we toured the music library, I was able to meet the music librarian, but his English was not good so I didn’t really get to have a nice conversation with him like I had hoped.  However, I was able to see an Arabic piano, which was so cool! The Arabic piano has three keyboards, which allows you to play Arabic music.  A lot of their music includes quarter- and micro-tones, which cannot be played on a normal piano.  The extra keyboards allowed the pianist to play these notes.  I really wanted to hear/play it, but they had the keys covered to where you could not touch them.  I had hoped to get a picture with the piano but was told we couldn’t take the picture.  I told Aunt Deborah, “Where’s Mahmoud when you need him?” He would have been able to talk his way into taking a picture!

Arabic Piano with three keyboards
Music Library at the Cairo Opera House

We had planned to have supper with Wael, one of Aunt Deborah’s work associates, but a sand storm came up so we were unable to go.  It was so strange, because it was like a rain storm but with sand.  As soon as the storm moved through, the temperature dropped and the air was really clean.  The next morning, there was a fine layer of sand on everything on Aunt Deborah’s terrace!

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