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

Updated 10 July 2018

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.”


Arab coalition says Yemeni prisoner swap ‘positive’ step

Updated 27 September 2020

Arab coalition says Yemeni prisoner swap ‘positive’ step

  • Agreement includes release of 15 Saudi soldiers, 4 Sudanese nationals
  • Red Cross to supervise prisoner exchange process in Yemen

RIYADH: The Arab coalition fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen said on Sunday that it views a Yemeni prisoner swap as a “positive agreement.”
Yemen’s warring sides agreed earlier on Sunday to exchange 1,081 detainees and prisoners during the first stage of talks in Switzerland.
The Arab coalition said the prisoner exchange agreement was “purely humanitarian,” and in line with the Stockholm Agreement.
It has almost been two years since an agreement between the Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Houthi militia was signed in Sweden, with the aim of ending the brutal conflict that has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthi militia will release 400 government prisoners while the Yemeni government will free 681 Houthi fighters, including on-the-ground deals for 20 prisoners.
Col. Al-Maliki said the coalition’s top priority is to recover the prisoners as soon as possible, adding that the agreement included the release of 15 Saudi soldiers and four Sudanese nationals.
He also said the Red Cross is expected to supervise the prisoner exchange process in Yemen.
Col. Al-Maliki called on the Houthi militia to not undermine the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, saying there was a real desire to implement all the points of the Stockholm Agreement.