Italian pianist mesmerizes audience in Jeddah

Updated 20 January 2014

Italian pianist mesmerizes audience in Jeddah

It was a sheer magical evening at the Italian Consulate when gifted Italian pianist Orazio Sciortio set poetry in motion from the moment his nimble fingers descended on the keys. Just 29, Orazio, is already considered an icon among the new generation musicians from Italy, and this was evident from the standing ovation and cries for encore from the audience after every rendition.
Orazio’s admirers say he is more than a pianist; he is a poet and a thinking soul, with a vast repertoire and command over composition which makes him an artist par excellence. Diego Roma, project manager, Translize, who is from Italy, told Arab News that despite his young age, Orazio has established himself as one of the most mature and highly skilled pianists in the contemporary music work.
Says Quincy Russell from France: “One gets the impression that the keyboard smiles happily under his nimble fingers. The way his hands move... fingers racing on the piano, is like deer jumping around.”
Consul General Simone Petroni, speaking to Arab News, said the concert was part of the initiative to deepen and strengthen relations between the two countries.
“It was planned as a small gathering, but requests flooded us and we tried to accommodate all.”
Petroni said the consulate was working on organizing three to four programs in future focusing on arts, design, and fashion.
“Italy opened a window for its people to learn more about Saudi Arabia when it celebrated the 80th anniversary of Saudi-Italy diplomatic relations in a grand style in Rome,” he said. Orazio said he had always wanted to come to Saudi Arabia, because he was passionate about the Middle East.
“Arab culture has had an impact on Sicily, and as a Sicilian, I have been interested in music from an early age, when I began playing guitar,” he said, adding that Arabic music was serious, and powerful, and Arabs love and appreciate music.
He said he would like to establish a music school in Saudi Arabia where he could teach not just European but other genres as well.
“Music is a universal language that has great potential to bring people together and promote international understanding,” he said.
Sahar Abujadail, a Saudi, said it was the first time she attended a piano recital. “I am happy I did. It was amazing. I loved it,” she added.
Elena Sobrino, a teacher from Spain, said she has attended operas in Spain and Italy, but this was the first time in Saudi Arabia, because has been in Jeddah only in the past four months ago.
“I used to take piano classes when I was a kid, and am still a piano fan. Very soothing and enjoyable,” she said.
Masako Naito, from Japan, who has been in the Kingdom for more than two years, and attends musical programs at European consulates, said it was “a once in a lifetime experience.”


Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

Updated 51 min 9 sec ago

Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

  • On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom
  • However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher

JEDDAH: Absher, the “one-stop shop” web-portal for Saudi government services, has been experiencing technical glitches that have left many citizens and expats unable to travel, despite them meeting the “exceptional case” categories outlined by the Interior Ministry more than two weeks ago.
Earlier this year and as part of its response to COVID-19, the Saudi government suspended all international flights to and from the Kingdom in a move that has successfully reduced infections across the country.
On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom. These include diplomats, humanitarian cases, Saudis who live outside the Kingdom for work or study, among others. To be able to leave the country an eligible individual must apply — with supporting documents — for a permit to the passport authority.
However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher.
“The option to request the permit suddenly vanished from the relevant page, so while you could access Absher you just couldn’t submit your request. I tried every day for nearly two weeks,” said a Saudi woman who holds residency in a neighboring country. She added that while there was no announcement, the only information that she read in the local press was that the service was facing technical glitches.
“Yesterday, they announced that Absher was back but said that new requirements were set,” she said. “These include providing a copy of the residency card abroad and proof that an applicant has lived out of the Kingdom for six months every year for the past three years. In addition they requested a copy of my tenancy contract.”
“I spent all day collecting the documents. When I tried to upload the PDF the first time it told me that the file was too big, so I went to find software to reduce the size and when I finally managed to do so, I couldn’t log in as the whole website was down with a message saying that it was either temporarily unavailable or that they were serving someone else,” she said.
Other people, including one Saudi cancer patient who is due to return for treatment in Germany, spoke of the same technical glitches. When Arab News tried to log on to verify earlier today, it was unable to with an automated message that said “currently we are serving others, please try again later.”  The problem seems to have been resolved for some users by 10 pm.