RIYADH: The second International Opera Festival concluded with visitors captivated by the three-day musical performances held on Nov. 2-4 at the Red Theatre at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh.
Hosted by the Music Commission, the festival featured the British National Symphony Orchestra and a series of nightly performances by international musicians.
During the festival’s second night, singer-songwriter Eurielle enchanted the audience with a complete set of music inspired by fantasy and love.
She told Arab News that performing her entire set of music for the first time was “the opportunity of a lifetime I’ve been waiting for.
“I’m feeling absolutely amazing. I’m on Cloud Nine. Considering that was my first-ever performance of a whole set of my own music and obviously some soundtrack music as well. I’ve never done that before. So that went really well. And I think the audience responded really well.”
Eurielle treated the audience to an exclusive performance of her new song, “At the End of the World,” scheduled for release next year as part of her fourth album.
For the second part of the show, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball delivered an upbeat musical performance including popular songs from “Hamilton,” “The Greatest Showman,” “The Lion King” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”
The festival featured a gallery dedicated to the Italian stage and film director Franco Zeffirelli, renowned for directing “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet” and many other productions.
The gallery showcased a vintage collection of costumes from Zeffirelli’s opera films, miniature displays of opera stages, and photographs of some of the most significant opera houses in the world.
Concertgoer Olga Iurchenko said that she “dedicated the evening to an opera night” with her friend Julia Budnik, who was visiting Riyadh.
She said: “We have the honor actually to enjoy opera here in Riyadh, and this is kind of an achievement of progress. And people like it, and I see that they are all dressed, well-prepared, and they listen to the music here, in their city, in their place, and they enjoy it.”
The pair said that it was their first time attending an opera event in the Kingdom.
Budnik said: “It was actually very beautiful. I really liked the orchestra, the performance, the atmosphere … the performance of opera is like the unique language of art which unites people all together and doesn’t need special translation because everybody is going to understand this.”
The International Opera Festival is a part of the Music Commission’s efforts to enhance the music industry in Saudi Arabia, promote its growth, and enrich the local community with international music.