On Wednesday evening, history was made once again in Saudi Arabia, this time as musicians from the National Arab Music Ensemble (AME) of Cairo Opera House performed the first of two concerts in Riyadh to an audience including high-level dignitaries from Egypt and the Kingdom.
The event, which was held at the King Fahd Cultural Center and organized by the country’s General Entertainment Authority, was inaugurated by Minister of Culture and information Awwad Al-Awwad. Egyptian Minister of Culture Dr. Inas Abdel-Dayem and several other dignitaries were in attendance.
Speaking to the audience, Al-Awwad highlighted the recent development efforts made regarding the Kingdom’s arts and culture sector, particularly its focus on sharing its rich heritage with the world. The guests then took a tour of the photography exhibition at the venue that showcased the almost 150-year history of Egyptian opera, from the opening of Cairo Opera House in 1869 to key performances that were presented on its stage until October 1971 when it burned to the ground.
For its first concert, the opera played pieces for famous Egyptian singers including Abdul Wahab, Umm Kulthum, Abdul Halim Hafiz, Shadia, Najat Al-Saghira and others, and the evening’s show included musical performances by the Egyptian expatriate community based in Riyadh.
Following his ascension to his current role, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been working on developing the Kingdom’s arts, culture, and entertainment offerings. In 2017, the Japanese Orchestra performed in Riyadh on the occasion of the Japanese cultural week and, since last year, the Kingdom has witnessed the establishment of its first-ever opera house, the reopening of public cinemas, an increased support for contemporary arts and film across the Kingdom, and a number of concerts headlining regional and international acts.