Russian culture festival launched in Riyadh

Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Felix Korobov during its concert in Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj )
Updated 16 October 2019

Russian culture festival launched in Riyadh

  • “Russian Culture in Riyadh” will also feature a Russian Cinema Week, beginning Tuesday, screening 10 classic, animated and modern Russian films selected specifically for a Saudi audience

RIYADH: The Moscow-based Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra inaugurated the “Russian Culture in Riyadh” festival with a concert featuring opera stars and music conducted by Felix Korobov.
The event was held at the King Fahd Cultural Center on Monday. The Saudi Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), organized performances, exhibitions and movie screenings to celebrate Russian culture and ties between the two countries.
The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, established in 1930, was founded as the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra and has played all over the world.
Soprano Aida Garifullina and bass Ildar Abdrazakov took to the stage in Riyadh in what was an exciting night for many first-time opera goers, with music from famed composers Mikhail Glinka and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
The concert began with excerpts from Glinka’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila” and, as the night went on, there were performances of “Tsaritsa of Shemakha” from the opera “The Golden Cockerel” by Rimsky-Korsakov, and “Song of the Varangian Guest” also from the Rimsky-Korsakov-composed opera “Sadko.”
“It was moving, beyond all expectations,” 24 year-old private sector worker Mohammed Al-Dossari told Arab News.  “I heard about the magnificence of Russian opera and the symphony (orchestra) but to have it come to our doorstep is exciting. The music takes you to another place, it’s calming and yet moving at the same time, a heady combination.”
Saudi and Russian guests and dignitaries enjoyed more than an hour of spectacular performances, with people cheering at the end of the show.

The celebration of Russian culture also features the work of Vasily Kandinsky, who is widely acknowledged as one of the fathers of abstract art and whose paintings are exhibited in the world’s top museums and galleries. The artwork is from St. Petersburg’s State Russian Museum.
Another exhibition, “Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue,” showcases the works of 14 artists from 10 countries that explore the artistic possibilities of artificial intelligence.
“Russian Culture in Riyadh” will also feature a Russian Cinema Week, beginning Tuesday, screening 10 classic, animated and modern Russian films selected specifically for a Saudi audience.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.