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  • Writer's picturePARLIAMENT NEWS

Harmony and Heritage: Zarqa Al Yamama Unveils a New Cultural Epoch at London's Goldsmiths' Hall

By Rebeca Riofrio

Photography by Keaton Chau

His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud

Under the ornate ceilings of Goldsmiths’ Hall, a tapestry of culture was unfurled—not with the usual threads, but with vibrant notes and the collective breath of anticipation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has indeed spun a narrative that threads back to its rich heritage with the unveiling of Zarqa Al Yamama, an opera that promises to be as insightful as the heroine's legendary foresight.

Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia

The event was a confluence of dignitaries and art aficionados, with a notable presence of Othman Al Omeir, the esteemed editor-in-chief of Elaph Publishing, among the rapt audience. In the historic heart of London, a city that prides itself on its cultural smorgasbord, this opera in Arabic, featuring a fusion of local and international talent, was not just a performance; it was a declaration of a new era.

Amelia Wawrzon

His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah's words resonated with the grandeur of the Hall, painting Zarqa Al Yamama as not merely an operatic spectacle but as a cultural beacon for Saudi Arabia's broader artistic vision. Saleh Zamanan, with the poise of a poet, offered a glimpse into the soul of the opera—an adaptation that promises to marry tradition with the contemporary, much like the legend itself.

Sawsan Albahiti

The musical preview was a symphony of promise. Amelia Wawrzon and Sawsan Albahiti, the sopranos, didn't just perform; they conjured the magic that only the purest form of art can. Lee Bradshaw's score is a testament to this, an echo of the old tales set to the heartbeat of the new world. And as Daniele Finzi Pasca, the maestro of stagecraft, infused his vision into the staging, one could sense the birth of a spectacle that would redefine the opera landscape.

Sultan Al-Bazie, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission

Sultan Al-Bazie’s ambitions, voiced in the hallowed venue, spoke not just of artistic opportunities for emerging talents but of a cultural dialogue that opera, in its universal language, is uniquely positioned to conduct. Zarqa Al Yamama is more than a first for Saudi Arabia; it's a bridge between worlds, a leap across the chasms of mere dialogue into the realm of understanding.

Lee Bradshaw, Composer of Zarqa Al Yamama

In this London reveal, we saw not a mere opera but the pulsing of a new cultural heart. As the Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission carves its name into the annals of opera history, one thing is abundantly clear: the narrative of art is changing, and at its quill is Zarqa Al Yamama, poised to write its next evocative chapter.

Amelia Wawrzon, Sawsan Albahiti, Dame Sarah Connolly, Daniele Finzi Pasca, Lee Bradshaw

Daniele Finzi Pasca

To learn more about the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, please visit the Commission’s website and page on X at @MOCPerformArt.


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