Egypt’s cabinet approved on Tuesday 26 January the recently introduced Chinese initiative to establish a new opera house in the historic governorate of Luxor, MENA reported.
Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr said that the cabinet agreed to allocate a piece of land in front of the Nile in Luxor so that the ministry of culture could construct the project.
The new opera house project in Luxor was introduced during the visit of the Chinese culture minister Cai Wu to the governorate last week with his Egyptian counterpart Helmy El-Nemnem.
Last week, the Chinese president arrived in Luxor to attend a celebration at Luxor temple for the beginning of the new Egyptian-Chinese cultural year and the 60th anniversary of Egyptian-Chinese relations.
El-Nemnem said the choice of Luxor temple to hold the celebration comes in the context of supporting tourism by shedding light on Luxor’s Pharaonic monuments for the world to see.
The new opera house aims to attract tourists to the historic city, the statement explained. It will also create a cultural connection between Egypt and other nations.
Egypt was the first country in the Middle East to have its own opera–the all-wooden Khedivial Opera House, which opened in 1868. The opera was a venue for performances of Western classical music, ballet, and opera as well as performances of Arabic heritage.
After the burning of the old opera house in 1971, Egypt had to wait until 1988 to see the opening of a new Cairo Opera House (National Cultural Centre), which was built with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The new opera serves as home to several national performing arts companies: Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Cairo Opera Orchestra, Cairo Opera Company, Cairo Opera Ballet Company, and Arabic Music Ensemble, among others. The current chairperson of the Cairo Opera House is Ines Abdel Dayem.