Saudi Arabia appoints Paris to create an orchestra and opera company

Saudi Arabia appoints Paris to create an orchestra and opera company


norman lebrecht

April 09, 2018

Statement from the French culture minister Françoise Nyssen:

‘Today an agreement was signed with the Paris Opera House to help Saudi Arabia establish a national orchestra and an opera house, Nyssen told reporters after signing agreements with her Saudi counterpart Awwad al-Awwad in Paris.’

Presumably with Paris Opéra labour agreements.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is presently on a visit to France.


  • Caravaggio says:

    Didn’t the Saudi prince recently purchase a palatial residence, if not an outright palace, outside Paris? I have serious issues with the hypocrisy and triple standards that are lavished on Saudis by the West, by elites both on the right and left. Remember where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from? Of course not.

  • msc says:

    Not on the tentative roster for the first fifty seasons: ‘Moses and Aron’, ‘Nabucco’, ‘Salome’, ‘St. Francis of Assisi’, ‘Saul and David’, ‘David and Jonathan’, ‘Moses and Pharaoh’, ‘I Lombardi’, ‘Tannhauser’, ‘Parsifal’, ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’ ….
    Oh, it’s too easy to keep going. Does anyone know of any coming productions anywhere of ‘Four saints in three acts’ or Rubinstein’s ‘Christ’?

    • The View from America says:

      But there will be revivals of Mârouf and Le Roi de Lahore, while the opera’s orchestra will be featuring the Antar Symphony and Islamey as well.

  • Edgar says:

    Let them have their opera house. By the time it’s ready, the House of Saud might be no more, as I am sure the young ambitious prince has succeeded in alienating plenty of his own extended tribal relatives who are only waiting to dispatch him. There is, however, a great opportunity for composers to write an opera for the official inaugural of the Desert Opera House: “The Fall of the House of Saud”.

  • anon says:

    The Crown Prince has money to burn, but no taste to spare.

    He overpaid for “Da Vinci’s” Salvator Mundi (ooh, look, we got a da Vinci, we’re just like the Louvre).

    Now he’ll overpay for a opera house that will look like the monstrosity that is Bastille, and an orchestra that will sound like the tinny Orchestre de Paris.

    He should just go to Las Vegas to learn how to build a miniature Paris in Saudi Arabia.

  • Sharon says:

    Will they allow Saudi women to go unveiled and sing?

  • Nick2 says:

    I hope someone has looked at the experience of the Malaysian Philharmonic, also founded on a government initiative. The contract to set it up and run it for 5 years went to IMG Artists. Thereafter the orchestra has run into a series of major problems with musicians due to hopeless management and an incompetent Board. But then the money comes from private sources. The much younger Qatar Philharmonic has gone through what seems like a similar set of bad management issues. Establishing a professional orchestra where none has existed before can lead to many unforeseen disasters.