12 May 2024


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, various stages

Running time

15:00 – 23:00



Radio Cairo

Radio Cairo

Embark on a sensorial excursion to Cairo’s golden era. Listen to tales, enjoy board games, try delicacies and, above all, immerse yourself in a wealth of musical delights. Radio Cairo transcends ordinary performances, offering a heartwarming, vibrant programme for both the afternoon and evening. In collaboration with Meervaart, Dutch National Opera presents an experience that serves as a tribute to the mid-twentieth century’s thriving Arab culture, a time when Cairo stood as the cultural heart of the Arab world, propelling artists like Oum Kalthoum to global stardom through the power of radio.

Radio Cairo

Afternoon programme

The journey begins with a leisurely afternoon at Café Radio Cairo, where DJ Disco Arabesquo spins tales on air live, complemented by TV Chef Nadia Zerouali’s Egyptian-inspired culinary creations. As the aroma of the East wafts through the air, visitors can indulge in traditional board games emblematic of an Arabian café’s convivial spirit. Meanwhile, in the adjacent Studio Boekman, you are invited to immerse yourself in two in-depth programmes.

Guided by storyteller Sabri Saad el Hamus, you will be immersed in the rich stories of Cairo’s golden age of music. This intimate session weaves personal anecdotes from a spectrum of Amsterdammers, ranging from those for whom this music is a treasured part of their upbringing to others who have discovered its magic more recently.

As the afternoon wanes, esteemed jazz bassist and composer Tony Overwater hosts ‘Salon Joussour’, a programme that reveals the layers and craft behind Radio Cairo’s music. Ever pondered the secret to its allure? Join discussions featuring Nizar Rohana, Lavinia Meijer, and other experts.

During the afternoon programme, children are welcome. Children up to 12 years old can join the programme for free.

For those interested, the afternoon culminates in an expansive three-course feast, courtesy of Nadia Zerouali.

Evening programme

The evening unfolds into a storied concert that weaves personal stories, anecdotes, music and creative interpretations to recreate Radio Cairo’s essence. Featuring the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra and the vocal prowess of Imane Karkibou and Hatim Idar, the concert guides you from the era of classical Arabic music (Tarab) to its evolution under Western influences. With heartfelt accounts from notable Amsterdammers and the charm of an Arabic café, we forge an unforgettable alliance of artist and audience upon the stage.

The night crescendos with a soiree hosted by DJ Disco Arabesquo – a last hurrah before the week begins anew.

The day’s multifaceted programme unfolds at different locations in the theatre. Options include tickets for the afternoon, evening, or a combined experience. Delicious food and drinks are available for you to order on location.

Afternoon programme

Doors open at 15:00

  • 15:00 – 20:00: Café Radio Cairo: Live radio programme with DJ Disco Arabesquo, snacks and drinks by TV Chef Nadia Zerouali (Couscousbar). During the café programme, you can play various board games and enjoy snacks and beverages.
  • 16:00 – 17:00: Stories with Sabri Saad el Hamus and guests
  • 17:30 – 18:30: Salon Joussour by jazz bass player and composer Tony Overwater and guests

Location: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Theatre Café & Studio Boekman
Price: € 20 (children up to 12 years free)

Three-course dinner

18:30 – 20:00

Nadia Zerouali (Couscousbar)will serve a dinner inspired by Egyptian cuisine and share the stories behind the dishes. Options for vegetarians and vegans are available, and all meat options are halal.

Location: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Foyer 
Price: € 15

Evening programme

Starts at 20:00

  • 20:00 – 21:30: Narrative concert with the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, singers Imane Karkibou, Hatim Idar, jazz bass player and composer Tony Overwater, harpist Lavinia Meijer, actor / storyteller Sabri Saad el Hamus, dancer / chorepgrapher Luca Abdel-Nour and others.
  • 21:30 – 23:00: Dance with DJ Disco Arabesquo

Location: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage
Price: € 30 (€ 5 discount with a combination ticket) 


Nebtedy Menein El Hekaya? — Where Do We Begin The Tale From?

The exhibition Nebtedy Menein El Hekaya? on view during Radio Cairo, shows the strong enchantment artists like Umm Kulthum, Abdel Halim Hafez, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Asmahan had and still have on many people. The exhibition was curated by Rasha Dakkak, showcasing commissioned works by Tulip Hazbar, lettering by Saba Shahin and Sarah Shebl, and archival material by DJ Disco Arabesquo

Tune in early to the Radio Cairo playlist!


Radio Cairo

A platform for untold stories

Arab culture experienced an enormous boom in the mid-20th century. Radio Cairo pays tribute to this golden era ánd it looks ahead to the production Oum (March 2025), which is inspired by the music of Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum.


Radio Cairo was created in a special collaboration between three Amsterdam cultural institutions: Dutch National Opera, Meervaart and Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra.

With thanks to the partners:

Municipality of Amsterdam, Ministry of Education Culture and Science, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Performing Arts Fund, Houthoff (main sponsor Dutch National Opera & Ballet)

Special thanks go to all artists and organisers involved:

Curator Radio Cairo
Fouad Lakbir

Afternoon programme
- Couscousbar - Nadia Zerouali, Samira Dahmani et al.
- Nawa Sira van Sluijs, Stan Rijven, Disco Arabesquo
- Exhibition - Rasha Dakkak, Tulip Hazbar, Disco Arabesquo, Samar Dakkak, Saba Shahin, Sarah Shebl
- Kan ya Makan - Sabri Saad el Hamus, Zeinab el Bouni, Thomas Fleishman and Mustafa Dagher
- Salon Joussour - Tony Overwater, Nizar Rohana, Jawa Manla and Hattouma Souleiman

Evening programme
- Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra
- Imane Karkibou
- Hatim Idar
- Lavinia Meijer
- Sabri Saad el Hamus
- Dwight Breinburg
- Luca Abdel-Nour
- Bo-Ann Zehl
- Streetmakers Audio Collective
- Bouba Dola
- Fjodor de Lange
- Christiaan Mooij

Institutions involved:

Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra:
- Mohamed Aadroun
- Eva Hermus
- Aike Jansen
- Hassan Bakkali

- Christiaan Mooij
- Yassine Boussaid
- Daan Hilhorst

Dutch National Opera & Ballet:
- Mechteld van Gestel
- Barbara Gautschi
- Wout van Tongeren
- Joshua de Kuyper
- Niko Groot
- Casey Rietbergen
- Doris Dekker
- Harvey Sambo
- Ianthe van der Hoek
- Floor van der Sluijs
- All staff of the technical departments and workshops of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet