Part of Egypt’s Natural Cultural Center in the country’s capital, the Cairo Opera House is the home stage for most of Egypt’s finest musical groups. Located on Gezira Island on the Nile River, this institution is the setting for numerous regionally important music festivals, most notably the annual Arab Music Festival, which presents distinctive music from all over the Arab world for fans of the genre. It attracts top instrumentalists, singers and established ensembles fluent and versed in this time tested art form, and provides visitors with a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best Arab music that the world has to offer. In recent years, it has taken place in the evenings during the month of July. This year it’s kicking off in November.
Former incarnations of the festival have included Ali El-Haggar, Angham, Reham Abdel-Hakim and Medhat Saleh from Syria, Manal Samaan, Elias Karam from Lebanon, violinist Gehad Aql from Morocco and the Iraqi lute player Munir Bashir.
There are often exhibits featuring calligraphy, sculpture, decorative musical notation and other arts. Another feature of the festival is an influx of music critics, scholars and teachers from around the Arab world who come to Cairo to take in the performances and hold formal and informal symposia to consider the history, status and future prospects of the various musical traditions.