Zarqa Al Yamama – the first Grand Opera produced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – celebrates international premiere in Riyadh

Zarqa Al Yamama – the first Grand Opera produced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – celebrates international premiere in Riyadh

LONDON, April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Last night, inside the newly renovated King Fahad Cultural Centre, Riyadh, the Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission premiered Zarqa Al Yamama – the first-ever Grand Opera produced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A groundbreaking new international production bringing to life one of the most iconic tales from pre-Islamic Arabia, Zarqa Al Yamama tells the story of the eponymous heroine’s struggle to warn the Jadis tribe about the approach of an army threatening to annihilate her people.

Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, commented: “It is our privilege to unveil the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama to the world, and to use one of our most beloved national stories as the launch of the next chapter for Saudi Arabia’s cultural prosperity. This production represents an achievement in international cultural exchange, and in bringing together outstanding Saudi-born talent with leading singers and technicians from all over the world, and we are delighted to have showcased the first performance in a new series of arts experiences inspired by the rich tapestry of stories from Saudi folklore.”

Zarqa Al Yamama is the first Grand Opera to feature international and local artists performing a libretto exclusively in Arabic, written by the award-winning Saudi poet Saleh Zamanan and adapted into an original musical score by Australian composer Lee Bradshaw, under the creative direction of Ivan Vukcevic.

The titular role of Zarqa was performed by world-acclaimed mezzo soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, alongside a principle cast of leading international artists including Amelia Wawrzon, Serena Farnocchia, Paride Cataldo, Aleksandar Stefanoski and George von Bergen. Of the nine main roles, three were performed by Saudi-born singers, including tenor Khayran Al Zahrani, and sopranos Sawsan Albahiti and Reemaz Oqbi.

Led by conductor Pablo González, the opera was performed by the Dresdner Sinfoniker featuring vocal accompaniments by the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno. The transformative staging and special effects were devised by internationally renowned stage director Daniele Finzi Pasca.

Zarqa Al Yamama will run for ten performances, closing on Saturday 4 May 2024.

Tickets– starting from 100 SAR/£20/$26 – can be booked via:

SOURCE Saudi Arabia Theater and Performing Arts Commission

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