We’re Not in Kansas Anymore … The Wizard of Oz twists its way into Saudi Arabia’s Ithra

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The Wizard of Oz musical comes to Saudi Arabia next month, hosted by the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). (Photo/Supplied)
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The Wizard of Oz musical comes to Saudi Arabia next month, hosted by the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 September 2019

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore … The Wizard of Oz twists its way into Saudi Arabia’s Ithra

  • Ithra is a creative and interactive public space for workshops, performances, events, exhibitions and experiences

The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is set to host the greatest family musical of all time, The Wizard of Oz, on Oct. 2-12. The musical, which features dazzling choreography and classic songs, will touch down in the Kingdom for the first time. This magical production is a celebration of the 1939 MGM movie, and will include breathtaking special effects that will sweep audiences away, from the moment the tornado twists its way into Kansas.
Director Dean Sobon has worked national tours of Fiddler on the Roof and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Amy McCleary, who is behind he magical choreography, was the director/choreographer of the national tour of Memphis, the Musical and the choreographer of the national tour of The Wedding Singer.
The team of Sobon and McCleary will take Dorothy, Toto and their friends the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow “over the rainbow” to adventures in Munchkin Land, the Haunted Forest and Emerald City. Featuring Harold Arlen’s classic songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “If I Only Had A Brain,” The Wizard of Oz will have the entire family captivated as they travel down the yellow brick road for an unforgettable day at the theater. Tickets are available online at www.ithra.com, and start at only 75 riyals ($20).
Ithra is a creative and interactive public space for workshops, performances, events, exhibitions and experiences. It offers an enriching journey for everyone by championing diversity, celebrating creativity and encouraging collaboration with the objective of energizing Saudi Arabia’s knowledge economy. Ithra is Saudi Aramco’s most ambitious CSR initiative and the largest cultural contribution to the Kingdom.

 


Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets. (Photo/Shutterstock)
Updated 22 February 2020

Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

  • Accusations fly as pilgrims targeted by sellers of counterfeit precious metal

JEDDAH: A video posted on Twitter by a member of the Precious Metals Committee explaining the ways some gold manufacturers manipulate weight of gold and diamonds has attracted significant attention in Saudi Arabia, raising the question of the authenticity of gold in the Kingdom.

In the video, Mohammed Azooz said cover-ups have made many Saudi gold sellers lose power over the market, and that industry was being controlled by non-Saudis.
In the video, he explained how some people circumvented customs and sneak gold into the country, especially during the Hajj season to target pilgrims.
The Arabic translation of #cheating_in_jewelry has been trending in Twitter for a few days, and several people posted about the issue, blaming those who were selling fake gold to pilgrims as pure gold.
This is not the first time the fake gold issue has been raised. The World Gold Council previously suspended its activities in the Kingdom following claims that some jewelry manufacturers mixed glass with gold. Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal rejected the accusations at the time, described them as “grave and dangerous.”
Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets.

FASTFACTS

• Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.

• For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

The price of one kilogram of 24 karat (k) gold in the Kingdom can reach SR185,000 ($46,700).
Gold and economic experts say that the movement in gold prices depends on numerous factors such as political and economic events around the world, the price of the US dollar in banks, black markets, as well as the supply and demand trends in global stock markets.

Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.
For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The Kingdom has launched an initiative, the first of its kind, authorizing authorities to launch a Shariah-based gold investment fund to enrich investment products through the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).
Moath Alkhasawneh, CEO and board member of FALCOM Financial Services, said the FALCOM Gold Fund was officially licensed by the Capital Market Authority. The fund aims to add value to Tadawul through a Shariah-based investment fund, as gold trading transactions are considered a good investment and a high-quality commodity with low risks in investment portfolios.
“Gold retains its value compared to banknotes — their value decreases because of inflation. The high demand on gold in light of the shortage of supply can drive the prices of gold higher in the long run,” said Alkhasawneh.
“The gold investment fund focuses on investment in pure and precious gold, and the investment transactions will take place at the Switzerland Gold Market under the supervision of the higher authorities in Switzerland. This will make it safer and more flexible.”