Opera Zarqa Al Yamama

Saudi’s first grand opera has now started

Tickets are up for grabs for SAR100

Set aside your Ave Marias, there is a litany of brand-new high notes coming to the Kingdom today.

That’s right, the much-awaited first-ever Saudi opera’s curtains about to lift for its maiden show in Riyadh.

Titled Zarqa Al Yamama, the opera will be performed at the newly refurbished King Fahad Cultural Centre and be the world’s largest grand Arabic opera to be performed by international and locally trained talents.

Saudi opera: curtain
The Zarqa Al Yamama will feature local and international performers. (Credit: iStock)

The Riyadh grand opera will debut on Thursday April 25 and run through to May 4, under the support of the Minister of Culture, His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud. The new Saudi opera was announced by the Saudi Theatre and Performing Arts Commission in January.

So grab your tissues and you most glamourous outfits and get ready for the first Saudi opera. Here is everything to know about the awesome performance.

Saudi Opera

Saudi opera storyline

The Zarqa Al Yamama is an ancient tale about a legendary Jadis woman with the gift of foresight. She sees a rival army threatening to destroy her people. The story unfolds as she makes efforts to warn her leader and advisers of the imminent danger ahead. Who doesn’t love a story of a heroine?

Several orchestrations and performances will be exhibited on a global scale. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Saudi grand opera production

The orchestral and choral performances are make up a massive production featuring the original score, written and composed by Lee Bradshaw, and the libretto by Saudi writer and poet Saleh Zamanan.

The principal vocal cast in the title role will be led by world renowned mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Conolly, accompanied by nine prominent Saudi musicians, including Khayran Al-Zahrani, Sawsan Al-Bahiti and Reemaz Oqbi.

More international names that will take to the stage include Clive Bayley, Amelia Wawrzon, Serena Farnocchia, Paride Cataldo and George von Bergen.

Saudi opera date and time

The show will run from Thursday April 25 through to Saturday May 4. The show will run from 8:30pm to 10.30pm, two hours of drama-filled acts is a must-see.

Saudi opera tickets

Saudi Opera tickets are still available on dc.moc.gov.sa for just SAR100.

Lights, camera, action. The Saudi grand opera staging and effects will be devised by expert Daniele Finzi Pasca.

Saudi opera events

Diriyah Royal Opera House

Saudi opera: Royal Diriyah Opera House Stage
An international cultural hub, the venue will host a myriad of artistic performances. (Credit: Royal Commission for Riyadh City)

Saudi’s first opera house, The Royal Diriyah Opera House, was also announced in 2024. The new development will be situated in the historical town of Diriyah, near the UNESCO World Heritage Site Turaif. It promises to be a hub for music across 45,000 square metres.

The Saudi Theatre and Performing Arts Commission

Established in 2020, This commission works to develop the field of theatre and performing arts, support and encourage funding and investment in it, and approve professional training programmes and certification bodies specialised in the field.

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