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

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

Zarqa Al Yamama, an innovative new international production that brings to life one of the most iconic tales of pre-Islamic Arabia, tells the story of the eponymous heroine’s fight to warn the Jadis tribe about the approach of an army that threatens to annihilate his people.

Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, commented: “It is a privilege for us to reveal to the world the legend of Zarqa Al Yamama and use one of our most beloved national stories to launch the next chapter of 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 around the world, and we are delighted to have presented the first performance in a new series of artistic experiences inspired by the rich tapestry of Saudi folklore stories.”

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

The title role of Zarqa was performed by world-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, alongside a core 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 sung by Saudi-born singers, including tenor Khayran Al Zahrani and sopranos Sawsan Albahiti and Reemaz Oqbi.

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

Zarqa Al Yamama will have ten performances and will end on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Tickets, starting at SAR100/£20/$26, can be booked via: https://dc.moc.gov.sa/home/event-tickets/208/zarqaa-al-yamama-opera/ .

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398549…

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