Saudi Arabia Unveils First Grand Opera in Arabic

Saudi Arabia Unveils First Grand Opera in Arabic
His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture, unveils Zarqa Al Yamama at launch event
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Written by Harry Johnson

Zarqa Al Yamama, the inaugural Arabic Grand Opera, will make its debut in Riyadh in April 2024.

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The Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission, a sector-specific commission under the Ministry of Culture, showcased its inaugural Grand Opera, Zarqa Al Yamama, during an exclusive event held at the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, marking its international debut.

Zarqa Al Yamama, the inaugural Arabic Grand Opera, will make its debut in Riyadh in April 2024. The production showcases a captivating narrative about a visionary heroine, portrayed by a talented ensemble of both local and international artists. During a London event, attendees were treated to an exclusive presentation and musical sneak peek of this extraordinary theatrical masterpiece, characterized by its cutting-edge stagecraft, enchanting orchestral arrangements, and captivating choral renditions.

Reflecting on the international launch of Zarqa Al Yamama, Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, added:
”We are proud to unveil the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama in London, recognized around the world as a leading city for international arts and culture, and are excited to welcome global audiences to Riyadh this April for the premiere of the Opera. Performances like these will inspire the creation of even more spectacular productions and the dawn of more Saudi works to be produced.”

The audience also enjoyed an introduction to the adaptation of the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama by Saudi writer and poet Saleh Zamanan, as well as a presentation of the opera’s music by Ivan Vukcevic, CEO of Arabian Opera.

Principle cast members Dame Sarah Connolly, the world-famous mezzo soprano leading the production in the titular role of Zarqa Al Yamama, as well as sopranos Amelia Wawrzon and Sawsan Albahiti. Audiences marvelled at the special performance by Amelia and Sawsan of the score composed by the renowned Lee Bradshaw.

The opera will be performed by the internationally acclaimed Dresdner Sinfoniker led by notable conductor Pablo González, with vocal accompaniments by the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno. World-renowned stage director Daniele Finzi Pasca, producer of major events such as Cirque du Soleil and two Winter Olympic ceremonies, has devised the opera’s stunning staging and special effects.

Through producing works like Zarqa Al Yamama, the Theater and Performing Arts Commission creates opportunities for emerging performers to showcase their talents locally and internationally, sets a standard for future productions, fosters international cultural exchange and represents a major step in the further development of the Kingdom’s opera industry.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • The audience also enjoyed an introduction to the adaptation of the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama by Saudi writer and poet Saleh Zamanan, as well as a presentation of the opera’s music by Ivan Vukcevic, CEO of Arabian Opera.
  • ”We are proud to unveil the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama in London, recognized around the world as a leading city for international arts and culture, and are excited to welcome global audiences to Riyadh this April for the premiere of the Opera.
  • Through producing works like Zarqa Al Yamama, the Theater and Performing Arts Commission creates opportunities for emerging performers to showcase their talents locally and internationally, sets a standard for future productions, fosters international cultural exchange and represents a major step in the further development of the Kingdom’s opera industry.

About the author

Avatar of Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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