Films, fashion, rave: Saudi Arabia to host the first opera festival of its kind

Opera singer

JEDDAH: After parties and movies, Saudi Arabia is hosting the first opera festival of its kind in Riyadh from June 18.

Arab News reported that the elite group of performers from around the world participating in the International Opera Festival includes Danielle de Niese, an Australian-American lyric soprano; Gevorg Hakobyan, an Armenian baritone; and Joseph Calleja, a tenor from Malta. Pioneering Saudi performers include Sawsan Al-Bahiti, the Kingdom’s first professional opera singer; Khayran Al-Zahrani; and Mostafa Shirah.

Each day during the festival, a two-hour performance at the Abu Baker Salem Theater on Riyadh City Boulevard will feature a Saudi singer and an international singer, starting with Al-Bahiti and Calleja on Saturday, who will perform a variety of pieces from classic operas. .

The Saudi Ministry of Culture said in a message posted on its official Twitter account, @MOCSaudi: “For the first time in the Kingdom, the ministry is organizing the International Opera Festival in Riyadh with the participation of the best international Saudi musicians and Arabs. ”

The festival also includes an exhibition of classical opera-related art and other artifacts, including fashion and historical musical instruments. It also offers visitors the opportunity to listen to rare recordings of opera music and experience some of the best opera houses in the world. This will be the first time much of the content will be seen and heard in the Kingdom. Tour guides will also be on hand to answer questions and provide visitors with more information about the exhibits, renowned artists and the world of opera in general.

Additionally, educational workshops will be offered covering a variety of opera-related topics, including singing, history of the art form, theory and practice of vocal lyrical art mechanisms, orchestra and the history of musical instruments, and the piano.

The festival is supported by the Kingdom’s Quality of Life Program, as part of Saudi Vision 2030, and reflects a desire to open up new cultural avenues and provide enriching experiences through hosting international events in a variety of arts-related fields.

Tickets for the festival, which is open to ages 12 and up, are available at and cost SR345 ($92).