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.


Saudia boss issues tribute to cabin crew killed in Sri Lanka bomb attacks

Updated 39 min 49 sec ago
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Saudia boss issues tribute to cabin crew killed in Sri Lanka bomb attacks

  • The airline announced on Monday that the two cabin crew had been killed in the attacks
  • The death toll in Sri Lanka rose to 321 on Tuesday and includes many nationalities

DUBAI: The director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines has paid tribute to the two cabin crew who were killed in Sunday’s terror attacks in Sri Lanka.

Cabin manager, Ahmed Zain Jaafari, steward Hani Maged Othman, were in one of the hotels when one of the attackers detonated his device on Sunday - a third crew member was slightly injured.

The two were initially unaccounted for, but on Monday night the airline released a statement confirming they had died.

In a statement issued to the airline’s staff and on the Twitter account on Tuesday, director general Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser praised the two for their service to the company and country.

“Myself, the entire management team and all of the team members of Saudi Arabia Airlines are with very heavy hearts, filled with deep sorrow as the airline confirms that two of its cabin crew members have passed away in the explosions which took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka,” Al-Jasser said in the statement.

“Each have a long tenure supporting the airline. These two gentlemen whole-heartedly served their country and SAUDIA with great pride and loyalty. All of us mourn for Ahmed and Hani, who are our brothers for eternity and our hearts are filled with pain for the indescribable loss that their families are facing.”