Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Saudi’s First Opera Singer Reflects on Her Journey As Surreal Yet Pioneering

Sawsan Albahiti, the first opera singer from Saudi Arabia, acknowledges the surreal nature of her pioneering role and the weight of responsibility it carries. Her journey began when she took an elective course in opera during her mass communications studies. Recognizing her potential, the choir conductor encouraged her to work with voice coaches despite her lack of formal musical training.

Music shaped Albahiti's life from an early age, as she grew up in a household immersed in diverse genres. Inspired by her sister's guitar playing, she started playing at the age of six and demonstrated an innate ability to learn songs by listening to the chords.

Albahiti's passion for pop music and the guitar shifted when she discovered inspiration in opera legends like Callas, Pavarotti, and Bocelli. Drawn to Brightman's versatile style, she incorporated elements into her own repertoire. Furthermore, Meeting Bocelli in person and discussing her opera dreams with him fulfilled a lifelong aspiration.

Albahiti's career as an opera singer is still in its early stages. A decade ago, she escaped from an unfulfilling marketing job by finding solace in her vocal training recordings. The prospect of becoming a professional singer in Saudi Arabia seemed unattainable at the time. However, in 2019, she made the bold decision to pursue music full-time. Her official debut came that year when she sang the Saudi national anthem in an operatic style, becoming the first Saudi woman to do so publicly at La Scala di Milano's show in Riyadh.

Albahiti's repertoire includes beloved arias and classic Neapolitan songs, infused with her own Arabic influences and instrumentation. While opera's popularity has declined over the years, its intense emotions and dramatic themes continue to captivate audiences worldwide. Albahiti emphasizes the power of expression and the immense skill required to master opera singing.

As an opera singer, Albahiti places great emphasis on caring for her voice through rigorous training, hydration, and avoiding harmful habits. Despite criticism for her non-traditional career path, she perseveres and grows from it. She also aims to cultivate a thriving creative community in Saudi Arabia. Albahiti founded The Soulful Voice school, coaching aspiring singers, and plays a leading role in establishing the Saudi National Orchestra and Choir through the Saudi Music Commission.

Albahiti has exciting plans for the future, including performances in London, Milan, and Riyadh, as well as the upcoming launch of the Saudi Opera House in 2026. Her main goal is to improve singers' talents and enhance Saudi Arabia's music scene. Through her groundbreaking achievements and dedication, Albahiti continues to pave the way for aspiring opera singers in her country and inspire audiences with her powerful voice and passion for music.

Share Article

Write a comment