Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia’s First Grand Opera Premieres in London

The Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission, a key sector-specific commission under the Ministry of Culture, proudly unveiled Zarqa Al Yamama, the first Grand Opera produced in Saudi Arabia, during an exclusive event held at London’s prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall.

Scheduled for its public debut in Riyadh in April 2024, Zarqa Al Yamama promises to be a groundbreaking cultural event.

This grand opera, presented in Arabic, will showcase a blend of local talent and international performers, narrating the tale of a heroine endowed with the extraordinary gift of foresight.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's First Grand Opera Premieres in London
His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud

The London event offered attendees a glimpse into the magnificence of this production, featuring a special presentation and musical preview marked by awe-inspiring orchestral arrangements and captivating choral performances.

A Cultural Fusion

Reflecting on the international launch of Zarqa Al Yamama, Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, expressed profound pride. He remarked, “We are proud to unveil the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama in London, recognised 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 London audience was treated to an introduction to the adaptation of Zarqa Al Yamama by esteemed Saudi writer and poet Saleh Zamanan. Additionally, Ivan Vukcevic, CEO of Arabian Opera, presented the opera’s enchanting musical compositions.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's First Grand Opera Premieres in London
Ivan Vukcevic, CEO of Arabian Opera

The principal cast, featuring world-renowned talents such as Dame Sarah Connolly, Amelia Wawrzon, and Sawsan Albahiti, showcased their prowess through remarkable performances. Audiences were captivated by the rendition of the score composed by the renowned Lee Bradshaw, as presented by Amelia and Sawsan.

A Stellar Ensemble

The orchestral arrangements were brought to life by the internationally acclaimed Dresdner Sinfoniker, under the baton of notable conductor Pablo González. The vocal accompaniments were provided by the esteemed Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno.

Overseeing the opera’s staging and special effects is the illustrious stage director Daniele Finzi Pasca, known for his work with Cirque du Soleil and two Winter Olympic ceremonies.

Through productions like Zarqa Al Yamama, the Theater and Performing Arts Commission not only provides a platform for emerging performers to showcase their talents but also sets a standard for future productions. Moreover, it fosters international cultural exchange and signifies a significant stride in the continued development of Saudi Arabia’s opera industry.

With Zarqa Al Yamama, Saudi Arabia stakes its claim on the global stage of performing arts, offering a compelling blend of tradition, innovation, and cultural exchange.

Zarqa Al Yamama: Saudi Arabia's First Grand Opera Premieres in London
Sawsan Albahiti

As the Kingdom continues to invest in its cultural landscape, the world eagerly anticipates the transformative impact of productions like this, bridging nations and enriching the global cultural tapestry.

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