World-famous Italian opera house debuts in Kingdom

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Chief Conductor Pietro Mianiti leads the Orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala Academy in "An Italian Opera Journey." (Supplied)
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Saudi opera singer Sawsan Al-Bahiti opens the concert with a rendition of the Saudi National Anthem. (Supplied)
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The Orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala Academy performs to a sold-out crowd on Friday evening in Riyadh's King Fahad Cultural Center. (Supplied)
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The Orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala Academy performs at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh for "An Italian Opera Journey." (Supplied)
Updated 16 June 2019
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World-famous Italian opera house debuts in Kingdom

  • Organized by the Saudi Culture Ministry, “An Italian Opera Journey” took place at the King Fahad Cultural Center
  • Only registration was required to attend the free event, which sold out almost instantly

RIYADH: Residents in Riyadh were treated on Friday to some of the best that Italian opera had to offer, with a performance by the symphony orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala Academy, which made its debut in Saudi Arabia.
One of the most famous opera houses in the world, dating back almost 250 years, the academy offers world-class training in all disciplines of symphony, opera and ballet, under the supervision of famous musicians.
Organized by the Saudi Culture Ministry, “An Italian Opera Journey” took place at the King Fahad Cultural Center.
Only registration was required to attend the free event, which sold out almost instantly, with 3,000 music lovers, artists and poets enjoying an hour of beautiful tributes to classical music.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The show opened with a surprise performance of the Kingdom’s national anthem by Saudi opera singer Sawsan Al-Bahiti, who received a standing ovation for her rendition.

• Al-Bahiti was invited by the Saudi Culture Ministry to perform at the event as part of its efforts to showcase national talents.

The show opened with a surprise performance of the Kingdom’s national anthem by Saudi opera singer Sawsan Al-Bahiti, who received a standing ovation for her rendition.
Al-Bahiti was invited by the ministry to perform at the event as part of its efforts to showcase national talents.
The orchestra was conducted by maestro Pietro Mianetti, and featured performances by soprano Francisca Manzo and tenor Ricardo Della Sciucca.

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3,000 music lovers, artists and poets enjoyed an hour of beautiful tributes to classical music in RIyadh.

Some of the most iconic pieces from 19th-century Italian opera were performed. At the end of the show, a standing ovation led to an encore.
Deputy Culture Minister Hamed Fayez took to Twitter to express how much he enjoyed the evening.
“A beautiful night spent with the esteemed La Scala opera at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh, amidst a wonderful crowd, with an exceptional performance from our Italian guests,” he tweeted, posting photos.
The performance is one of the ministry’s efforts to attract high-quality artistic events that enrich the Saudi cultural landscape and enhance quality of life.
The Kingdom’s first opera house will be built in Jeddah, and is scheduled for completion in 2022. The institution aims to become the new home of a Saudi residence orchestra.
The Kingdom has also seen the opening of a music institute by famed Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour, with a second music institute in the works.


‘I love Zuhair,’ J. Lo gushes about Lebanon’s designer to the stars

“I love Zuhair, he’s probably my favorite,” Jennifer Lopez said in an interview clip shared on the fashion house's Instagram. (AFP)
Updated 22 min 13 sec ago
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‘I love Zuhair,’ J. Lo gushes about Lebanon’s designer to the stars

DUBAI: US superstar Jennifer Lopez is bringing her It’s My Party World Tour to Egypt on Aug. 9 and sat down for an interview with event organizer Venture Lifestyle, in which she revealed that Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad is one of her all-time favorites.

The fashion house shared a clip of the conversation on Instagram, in which interviewer Rabih Mockbel sat down with the singer-actress-dancer.

“I love Zuhair, he’s probably my favorite,” Lopez said in the interview, before going on to shed light on the moment she discovered the Lebanese talent.

“I discovered him years ago when I was doing a show somewhere. I was doing a show and I was so jetlagged and I was up in the middle of the night watching Fashion TV, which they had in this country I was in, and he had this beautiful show and I was like, ‘Who is this guy?’”

Lopez went on to explain the hurdles she faced when trying to get in touch with Murad, who doesn’t seem to have been a household name at the time.

 

“I came back (to the US) and I said, ‘Do you guys know Zuhair Murad?’ and nobody knew who he was, none of the stylists, nobody in the United States knew who he was. I was like, ‘You have to get me this dress for the Met Ball,” she said, referring to the Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York and one of the fashion world’s most eagerly anticipated events.  

“I wore his dress to the Met Ball and after that, I just started using him for everything — he designed my last tour — we just have a great relationship. He’s a beautiful man, a beautiful designer,” Lopez added.

Murad isn’t the only Lebanese designer to have caught Lopez’s eye, however.

She kicked off her world tour on June 7 with a showcase of costumes designed by the who’s who of Lebanon’s fashion scene.

The “Jenny from the Block” singer took to the stage in a variety of outfits, one of which was a neon green bodysuit by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran, which she paired with matching thigh-high boots by Lebanese shoemaker Andrea Wazen.

Lopez also performed in a sparkling blue bodysuit by Murad.

The custom-made fringed bodysuit featured dazzling blue beading, which she paired with a silky bomber jacket scattered over with deep blue rhinestones.

She is also known to be a fan of Lebanese couturier Elie Saab, having sported his gowns on many a red carpet, and even posed for People magazine’s December issue wearing a sheer dress by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi.