We visited the Steins at their hotel, the Marriot, which Cameron was very impressed with. It is a bit like a palace with trees with white lights on them, statues in the garden and beautiful marble architecture.
After leaving the Marriot, Cameron and I headed for the Opera House since it's in that general area of Cairo. It should have been only a 15-20 minute walk to get there, except the guard outside the Marriot told us it was on the other side of the Nile so we crossed the bridge near the hotel, then asked directions again once we got all the way across, only to find that the first directions were wrong and the Opera House was on the opposite side of the Nile. So we walked across the Nile again on the next bridge down the river. The whole walk to get there was an hour. It's a good thing little Cameron is a strong hiker. He managed it fine.
We weren't sure how to get to the entrance of the Opera House, but a nice Egyptian who I asked for directions walked us to the entrance. This is not uncommon. People are very welcoming.
Below are a few photos of the Opera House that I took during the day a couple months ago when walking by.
The fence in the photo below surrounds the Opera House.
Here's a link to a few minutes of Oud music I found on YouTube if you'd like to hear what it sounds like:
There was another instrument that looked a little like a dulcimer but seemed to be played differently. It was played with fingers plucking not hammers. When I was looking online, I saw something that might be it. Here's a picture of it. This is called an Egyptian Harp or a Qanun.
Here's a YouTube clip of what a Qanun sounds like. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSfV8QPillY
The music played by the orchestra was a wide range, sometimes slow and sad sounding like a song about someone with a broken heart; other times very lively with the tamborine helping lead the beat. One of the pieces had a duet of a male and female singer doing some kind of flirtatious funny dialogue set to music. I couldn't understand it since it was in arabic, but the singers acted it out well with smiles and pleading words alternating the woman seeming to play 'hard-to-get'. The audience found it very funny and gave them a big round of applause. Here is a picture of the orchestra.
The wonderful orchestra from Cairo with choir in background.
I went on YouTube to try to find music similar to what we heard last night. Here's something that is similar in rhythm and tone, but the performance we saw had a more life to it.
While we were at the Opera House, I bought tickets for us to go to the Egyptian Ballet performing in the big indoor hall in a couple weeks.