We were not planning to watch any Opera when building itinerary for Egypt trip. However in the middle of planning I came across a posting in Trip Advisor about Opera Aida comeback to Luxor and they would be playing on 26 and 28 Oct in Luxor. I was so excited because we would happened to be in Luxor on the 28th based on our itinerary. I bought the tickets from their website and email them afterward to request for payment thru credit card. The process of buying the ticket was pretty manual. We chose the ticket, the seat and click submit. We then waited for them to respond with invoice and process payment. We finally got the ticket by end of the week with instruction that it need to be printed and showed at the event.
What to wear to Opera?
A night at the opera is one of the trickiest outings to get dressed for especially when you are traveling. Though there aren’t any strict dress codes, we know it’s best to wear something on the formal side. Things to definitely keep out of the opera house? Sweatpants, casual sneakers, or distressed jeans. So we all packed nice shoes and nice dress to wear for the opera. I was unsure about the weather. Luxor is hot but at night temperature might drop and is the venue outdoor or indoor. The information was not so clear but I suspect it would be outdoor.
Getting to the Opera
Again instructions was not clear either. Transport was included in the ticket and when I emailed they say there would be pick up at Hotels in Luxor at 5.30pm. When I checked in with our Hotel earlier, I asked concierge to confirm where the pick up for Opera Aida would be and he confirmed the bus would be in front of Winter Palace at 4 and 5pm.
We were too late for 4pm bus as we only finished lunch in Soffra Restaurant around 3pm. So we hurried back to Hotel and getting ready.
The Bus departed after 5.30pm. We could see a lot of British people looking very chic in their outfit and some asian tourist on their shirt and jeans and looked like they were out of place. We were so relieved that we bring our chic outfit despite they take up space in our suitcase. Lesson learnt: always bring proper outfit for an opera and time your itinerary accordingly so you can get ready before the event.
The bus took 45 minutes to reach Hatshepsut temple. There is a cafe where you can buy hot drink and light meals. We forgot to bring water bottles so we bought some water, hot tea and light meals. The venue happened to be outdoor with Hatshepsut temple as the backdrop. It was also very windy. I did wish I had my scarf with me.
About Opera Aida in Luxor.
Khedive Ismail had commissioned the Italian musician Verdi to write the Opera Aida, which was shown during the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal in 1869. The opera premiered in Cairo in 1871 to a handful of distinguished members of society. It then went on to play in La Scala, Milan, Italy. Luxor witnessed the return of Verdi’s Opera Aida on 26 and 28 Oct after 22 years of absence, an event greatly awaited by opera enthusiasts from around the world, at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor. The return of the Opera Aida to Luxor since its premiere at the same location at the end of 1997, is a message of peace and security from Egypt to all parts of the world, and a step towards making Opera Aida an annual event on the global tourism agenda. The performance will be directed by Michael Sturm, from Germany. The Academic Symphony Orchestra “INSO-Lviv” will be providing the orchestra for the performance, while the National Choir of Ukraine DUMKA will be the choir.
Written by the great Giuseppe Verdi, Aida Opera is a four-act-opera which follows the story of two star-crossed-lovers: Radames, a soon-to-be Egyptian army commander, and Aida, the Ethiopian slave of Princess Amneris, the King’s daughter. To complicate matters, as operas usually do, Princess Amneris is also in love with Radames. The story escalates when Aida turns out to be the daughter of the Ethiopian king, who then fights Radames in battle. Their love is tested as Aida is forced to choose between her love for Radames and her sense of duty. (https://egyptindependent.com/after-22-years-halt-opera-aida-finally-returns-to-luxors-hatshepsut-temple/)
Some scenes from the Opera
Our thought on the opera
For us this is a lifetime experience: Verdi Opera and Hatshepsut temple was a spectacular combination and we were so lucky we happened to be in Luxor at that time. Some tips from us: We went in late October. It was very hot during the day and Luxor is always hotter Vs Cairo. However at night temperature drop and it gets windy. As the opera is outside, always prepare to bring a shawl or light coat to keep warm. I forgot my shawl but Thankfully drinking hot tea helps keeping my stomach warm.
Tips for seating:
We managed to secure seats in the front row in silver class as we booked early. We got lucky to secure the front row because the seating is not a tribune/movie theatre style. It is flat seating area in each of the class. So if there is a tall person in front of me I wouldn’t be able to see anything. Always check what is the seating going to be like. Whether it is a a tribune or movie theater seating.