Access all arias: La Scala in Milan plans show in Saudi Arabia

Updated 10 July 2018
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Access all arias: La Scala in Milan plans show in Saudi Arabia

  • Laa Scala chief executive says it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia has its own opera house. 
  • “Opera and concert require live performances, because fascination and energy are created only through real contact with the public,” says Alexander Pereira

MILAN: The head of the world’s most famous opera house wants to bring singers and musicians to Saudi Arabia for a star-studded operatic performance. 

“We will find a way to do it,” said Alexander Pereira, chief executive and artistic director of Teatro alla Scala in Milan — known throughout the world simply as La Scala. 

“It’s about bringing our choir and our orchestra, about 250 people, and doing something that can strike the public. I could propose the Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven, a masterpiece of the European tradition; or if we wanted to do something Italian we could perform ‘La Traviata’ in the form of a concert or choirs and arias, as we do with great success in Japan, for example.”

Pereira believes it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia has its own opera house. 

“These things done in Saudi Arabia would have great value given the importance of the country and the influence it exerts on the Arab and Muslim world in general,” he said.

“It would be a great driver for the world of theater and opera music. Outside the field of art I have also seen with great pleasure the reforms made and planned in favor of the female world, truly remarkable and appreciable.”

The reopening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia was a natural first step, Pereira said. “It is the fastest and most comfortable to do. Movies can be bought and broadcast without much difficulty, while theater is a more difficult world.

“Opera and concert require live performances, because fascination and energy are created only through real contact with the public,” he said. 

It is therefore necessary to move dozens of artists, find suitable places for size and acoustic quality, and therefore it takes time.

“But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms seem to be very fast, there is great dynamism and willingness to do things. In this way everything can be done.”


King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 14 December 2018
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King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.