First Saudi opera house to open in Jeddah

In this file photo, musicians perform at the Royal Opera House in Muscat during a women's celebration in Oman. Saudi Arabia will soon have its own opera house, to be located in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Opera House in Muscat)
Updated 23 February 2018
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First Saudi opera house to open in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first opera house is set to open in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, Ahmed Al-Khatib, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), announced on Thursday.
The announcement was part of the launch of the 2018 entertainment calendar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, where Al-Khatib revealed a budget of $64 billion for the entertainment sector over the coming decade. More than 5,000 events in 56 cities in the Kingdom are planned for 2018.
Al-Khatib told Reuters last April of Saudi Arabia’s plan to open “a world-class opera house” as part of the Kingdom’s entertainment reforms.
The Saudi General Culture Authority will handle the establishment of the new opera house, Al-Khatib, who declined to give further information, told Arab News.
The General Culture Authority could not be immediately reached for comment.
According to Reuters, the opera house to be completed around 2022.
Speaking to Arab News, Sultan Al-Bazie, former president of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, described the announcement as a significant step toward enriching the Kingdom’s cultural scene and said it deserved “a warm welcome.”
Al-Bazie wondered, however, about the fate of the Royal Arts Complex and whether the opera house would be a substitute for it.
In 1869 the Egyptian Khedivial Opera House in Cairo became the first opera house in Africa and the Middle East. Designed by architects Pietro Avoscani (from Livorno) and Rossi, the opera house was built on the orders of Khedive Ismail to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.
In 2011, Oman opened the Royal Opera House in Muscat becoming the second Arab and first Gulf country to have an opera house. Other Gulf countries such as Dubai and Kuwait later opened opera houses.


KSA, Mauritania sign MoU to promote moderate values in society

Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdulatif Al-Asheikh and his Mauritanian counterpart Ahmed Ould Ahl Dawood at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs headquarters in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 6 min 6 sec ago
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KSA, Mauritania sign MoU to promote moderate values in society

  • The Mauritanian minister hailed the strong bonds and historical relations between the two countries and their cooperation in many fields

JEDDAH: The Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mauritania’s Islamic Affairs Ministry to increase cooperation in different fields and to promote the concepts of moderation in Islam.
The MoU was signed between Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdulatif Al-Asheikh and his Mauritanian counterpart Ahmed Ould Ahl Dawood at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs headquarters in Riyadh.
The MoU included nine main articles. It envisages cooperation in introducing Islam and its position on contemporary issues, serving the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, and cooperation in mosque affairs, their construction and maintenance.
In addition to that, the two sides will work under this MoU to adopt and propose programs to explain and promote concepts of moderation in Islam and assist the progress and advancement of Muslim nation in various fields.
The two sides will also share information, coordinate their efforts during international events, and cooperate in preparing studies and conducting research related to protecting, reviving and spreading Islamic heritage.
The MoU also stated that the two sides shall encourage the exchange of visits at various levels, participate in Islamic seminars and conferences held in both countries, and form a joint committee for the implementation of the MoU’s content.
The MoU concluded that the Hijri date is to be used in all correspondence between the two sides. The MoU shall enter into force on the date of its signature between the two sides and it shall be implemented within five years and will be automatically renewed for the similar duration unless one side informs the other that they wish to amend or terminate it.
Al-Asheikh said: “This memorandum of understanding comes under the guidance of King Salman and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in the framework of the distinguished historical relations between the two countries, especially in serving Islam and Muslims.”
He referred to what has been achieved through Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to Mauritania, which was the first visit of a senior Saudi official to Mauritania in four decades to strengthen relations between the two countries to unprecedented levels.
Al-Asheikh pointed out that the MoU will promote joint cooperation in various fields.
The Mauritanian minister hailed the strong bonds and historical relations between the two countries and their cooperation in many fields.
He also praised the articles of the MoU, which he described as important and historical.