Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

July 2, 2008

Unusual opportunities

Filed under: BONUS! — Kaddee @ 10:36 am

One of the “draws” for coming to a place like Cairo, and a large(ish) university like AUC, was the access to unusual events and opportunities. I’ve been calling these posts “Bonuses” because in the realm of my life in Cairo, that is how I view them. They are unexpected and wonderful additions to my experience here – and are not readily available to all who visit.

A few days ago, I received this e-mail:

My dear colleagues,

I am going to play a short, informal recital on the harpsichord this Monday, June 30, at 8 p.m. in the Falaki Studio Theater (in the AUC downtown campus, room 312 of the New Falaki building, at Falaki and Sheikh Rihan Streets). The balance of the concert will consist of music for harpsichord of Scarlatti, Bach, and Couperin. Gala El Hadidi will also join me to sing a few arias of Monteverdi and Vivaldi with harpsichord continuo.

The harpsichord in question dropped out of the sky about three weeks ago, on loan from an extremely generous benefactor. Since then I seem to be spending most of my time playing it, as opposed to getting any actual work done. That being the case, it seemed to make sense to invite you all to a recital in order to better acquaint you with this marvelous instrument.

I hope you can join me and Gala on Monday evening.

How often does one get invited to a harpsichord recital? And then, being joined by a singer to “sing a few arias of Monteverdi and Vivaldi”?

I have to admit, I’d never heard a harpsichord being played. I’ve seen them in museums, but to have a friend actually PLAY one was fantastic. The selected pieces emphasized both the strengths of the instrument, and the versatility of the musician. The singer had an incredible mezzo-soprano voice that filled the small venue with sensuous sound.


  1. And to book-end that event, we spent the rest of the evening at a total dive bar (sawdust on the floor, plywood covering
    many of the windows etc) drinking beer with friends until
    the wee(ish) hours of the morning.

    Ahh, such CULTURE.

    Comment by Jack — July 2, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  2. I love the delicate sound of a well-played harpsichord. And the bonus of an excellent vocalist is the icing on the cake!

    Comment by Pat — July 3, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  3. Kaydee & Jack,

    Just when I thought I was the only American in Cairo, I did a search and found your blog. Very good reading. Many similarities as I have experienced since living in Cairo (Oct. 07). I also just came back from Italy, did a whirlwind tour the week of 15-June. The weather was very nice that week, guess I was lucky to leave before it got warmer.

    I would like to chat sometime, I get too used to working all the time and don’t have any outlets to meet other Americans. I live in Al Rehab, not far from the new AUC. I’m the IT project manager at the new Terminal 3 at Cairo International Airport. Two Brits, me, and the rest of my team are Egyptians.

    I’ve only gotten through a dozen or so of your blogs (you will note the high page count on your stats for today).

    Anyway if interested, drop me an email. steve_717@yahoo.com


    Comment by steve — July 7, 2008 @ 10:48 pm

  4. Hello -
    The person who had the harpsichord contact was John Babukis at the American University in Cairo.
    Not sure who the instrument belonged to, but I know that John was VERY happy to be able to play it.
    Good luck

    Comment by Kaddee — January 31, 2010 @ 9:18 am

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