Zarqa Al-Yamamah Opera is the World's Largest Arab Opera
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“Zarqa Al-Yamamah Opera” is the World’s Largest Arab Opera and the First Saudi opera



Zarqaa Al-Yamamah Opera, is the biggest Arab opera in the world as well as the first opera performed in Saudi Arabia.

In light of Saudi Arabia’s National Culture Strategy, the Theatre and Performing Arts Authority is preparing to present “Zarqa Al-Yamamah Opera.” It is the biggest Arab opera in the world as well as the first opera performed in Saudi Arabia.

The goal is to revive and reproduce iconic works and stories from the Arabian Peninsula’s past. In a contemporary and innovative form, it promotes worldwide cultural interchange. The Authority encourages the Saudi theatrical movement by producing unique theatrical works.

The performances of “Zarqa Al-Yamamah Opera” will commence in the capital, Riyadh, in the middle of next April. Under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Theatre and Performing Arts Authority’s Board.

This enormous performance has renowned and accomplished local and international artists reading operatic texts in Arabic.

It will feature a variety of cultural acts that will run until the beginning of next May.


Zarqa Al-Yamamah Tale

Zarqa al-Yamamah, a well-known figure in pre-Islamic Arab history, is the subject of the original artwork.

The piece narrates the tale of a Jadis tribal woman with blue eyes, and the extraordinary capacity to see far into the horizon.

Zarqa al-Yamama alerts her tribe to the approach of a massive army that is moving towards them in the well-known story.

The epic story’s songs are written by renowned operatic musician Lee Bradshaw, who draws influence from some classical aspects to produce a modern piece that mixes orchestral and choral parts with breathtaking vocal performances.

Skilled vocalists make an appearance in the performance, with renowned mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly leading the group as “Zarqa Al-Yamamah.”

Along with nine other talented vocalists, the main vocal group includes well-known Saudi musicians Khairan Al-Zahrani, Sawsan Al-Bahiti, and Remaz Al-Aqabi.

Several well-known international performers, like Cliff Bailey, Amelia Warzon, Serena Farnocchia, Parade Cataldo, and Georg von Bergen, share the stage with them.

In this unique theatrical production, the Dresdner Sinfoniker Orchestra plays musical selections, while the Czech Philharmonic Choir lends its endearing voices to the intriguing tale developments.

Daniel Finzi-Basca, a Swiss director, is in charge of the show’s organisation and special theatrical effects.


Tomorrow is bright

Saleh Zamanan, the playwright, stated that “Zarqa Al-Yamamah Opera” takes its storyline, spirit, and language from the history of the Arabian Peninsula, of which the Kingdom now occupies much of its territory and cultures.

“I feel very proud to write this opera. As it represents a difference in artistic and aesthetic quality in the Kingdom and the great Arab world,” he continued.

Zamanan went on, “In a way, this opera represents a bloody tragedy that portrays ancient history. While also symbolises the suffering of modern man in the Arab world. However, there will be glimmers of promise for a bright and joyous tomorrow.”


A Historical Instance

“Opera is a useful tool for reaching new audiences, and for introducing society to a variety of arts and cultures.” According to Sultan Al-Bazai, CEO of the Theatre and Performing Arts Authority.

In addition to inspiring a new generation of Saudi artists, the “Zarqa Al-Yamamah” theatre production marks a significant turning point in the Kingdom’s cultural history. It showcases its culture to a worldwide audience.

Saudi Arabia honoured the art of international opera by organising several editions of an international festival. A select group of international stars and gifted Saudi Arabians performed in one-of-a-kind operatic productions. They were accompanied by exhibitions that introduced this global art form and its historical developments.

Through it, it also organised seminars and concerts to advance this art form. It is fostering local talent, and assisting them as they advance their professional careers and skill sets in it.