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Zarqa Al Yamama, Riyadh: a bold attempt, but Saudi Arabia’s first grand opera falls flat

  • As Saudi Arabia continues its quest to establish itself as a cultural force on the world stage, investing significantly in its cultural heritage, it has turned to opera as a way forward. There is a new opera house being built, aiming for completion in 2029. Meanwhile, opera has temporarily taken over the huge King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh, which has been rapidly repurposed to accommodate the world premiere of a new opera specially commissioned by the country’s Theatre and Performing Arts
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