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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

Zarqa Al Yamama, the first Grand Opera produced by The Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission, one of the 11 sector specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture, was internationally unveiled at an exclusive event in London’s historic Goldsmiths’ Hall.

Premiering to the public in Riyadh in April 2024Zarqa Al Yamama, the first Grand Opera in Arabic will feature locally trained artists alongside international performers to tell the legend of the heroine who was blessed with the gift of foresight.  Attendees at the London event were introduced to a special presentation and musical preview of the grand opera which delivered a state-of-the-art theatrical production filled with sweeping orchestral movements and mesmerising choral performances.

Reflecting on the international launch of Zarqa Al YamamaSultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, added:

”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 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.

Dame Sarah Connolly at the international launch of Zarqa Al Yamama

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.