Al-Ahsa showcases experience in preserving folk art at UNESCO Creative Cities Network Conference

RIYADH: The French Embassy and Alliance Francaise in Saudi Arabia recently held a special performance combining symphonic music and sports in recognition of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

Held at the Palace of Culture in Riyadh’s diplomatic quarter, the show titled “Rhapsodie Sportive” was the brainchild of Zahia Ziouani and featured the Divertimento Orchestra she founded in 1998.

The French Algerian conductor said she wanted to show that classical music is still relevant.

“I feel so enthusiastic about the music and the will to be with the audience and allow the audience to see that classical music is not the music of the past, but we can combine modern and contemporary ways of dance and music.” she told Arab News.

“I want to be very creative on stage and I’m very happy to conduct my orchestra. It’s always been a dream for me and now I’ve achieved it.”

She said that she was also glad that she got the opportunity to perform in the Kingdom.

“This program is about the spirit of the Olympic Games and the mixing of music and sports… to be here in Riyadh is a very big symbol and I am very proud of it.”

The event was introduced by the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, who will leave at the end of this year.

“I’m very happy because it was an amazing show,” he said. “Mixing classical music, a French orchestra and French dancers and athletes representing all kinds of sports just a few weeks before the Olympic Games in Paris.

“I have to say that I was impressed by the hospitality of the Saudi people and the enthusiasm (we received) for all the events we organized. There is a cultural dialogue between France and Saudi Arabia. The opening of Saudi Arabia is very important not only for the country but also for the world.

Fencing, boxing, tennis, BMX and breaking all appeared in the show, performed by symphonic music from France, Spain, Great Britain, USA and all over the world.

Leave a Comment