Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia’s Grand Opera Unveiled

In a historic move, the Theatre and Performing Arts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proudly announces the grand debut of “Zarqa Al Yamama” – an opulent opera set to captivate audiences globally.

This monumental production, the world’s largest grand opera in Arabic, is a testament to the Kingdom’s commitment to cultural innovation and artistic excellence.

Unveiling Zarqa Al Yamama: A Tale from Pre-Islamic Arabia

The narrative of “Zarqa Al Yamama” is deeply rooted in an ancient tale from pre-Islamic Arabia, narrating the life of a legendary woman hailing from the Geddes tribe.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's Grand Opera Unveiled

Blessed with the gift of foresight, she forewarns her people of an impending threat from a rival army. The story unfolds as the eponymous heroine strives to alert her leader and advisors to the imminent danger.

A Symphony of Artistry: Score and Libretto

The original score, a magnum opus by Lee Bradshaw, intertwines seamlessly with the poetic brilliance of Saudi writer and poet Saleh Zamanan, who crafted the libretto.

This artistic collaboration promises a spellbinding experience, with sweeping orchestral and choral performances, delicate moments of beauty, and awe-inspiring vocals.

Dame Sarah Connolly, a world-acclaimed mezzo-soprano, takes the lead in the title role of Zarqa Al Yamama. Saudi talents Khayran Al Zahrani, Sawsan Albahiti, and Reemaz Oqbi, embodying pivotal roles, showcase the remarkable progress of the Kingdom’s national music programme.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's Grand Opera Unveiled

The international ensemble features acclaimed artists such as Clive Bayley, Amelia Wawrzon, Serena Farnocchia, Paride Cataldo, and George von Bergen.

The enchanting orchestrations, presented by Dresdner Sinfoniker with vocal accompaniments by the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, promise a sensory feast. Adding to the allure are mesmerising staging and special effects meticulously curated by stage director Daniele Finzi Pasca.

Cultural Milestone: Opera’s Role in Community Exposure

Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, emphasises the pivotal role of opera in engaging diverse audiences and exposing communities to varied art and culture.

“Staging Zarqa Al Yamama marks a landmark moment in the Kingdom’s cultural journey,” declares Al-Bazie, foreseeing the inspiration it will instil in a new generation of Saudi artists and the global showcasing of Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural tapestry.

Writer’s Vision: Saleh Zamanan’s Perspective

Zamanan, the mastermind behind the libretto, underlines the profound connection of Zarqa Al Yamama’s story, spirit, and language to the history of the Arabian Peninsula.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's Grand Opera Unveiled

Proud of the opera’s introduction of a new artistic perspective, he states, “Zarqa Al Yamama embodies a bloody and tearful tragedy depicting ancient history, symbolizing the sorrows of Arabs today, yet not devoid of hope, promising a bright and happy tomorrow.”

Conclusion: A Cultural Extravaganza with Global Impact

As the curtains rise on Zarqa Al Yamama in April 2024, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes centre stage in the world of grand opera. This groundbreaking production, rooted in ancient tales, showcases the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering cultural diversity and artistic expression.

“Zarqa Al Yamama” stands not only as an opera but as a cultural extravaganza promising to leave an indelible mark on the global stage, embodying the rich tapestry of Saudi Arabia’s history and culture.

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