Saudi opera can transcend borders to be global: Sawsan Al-Bahiti

Sawsan Al-Bahiti hopes to present a Saudi Arabian opera that would to be successful across the world.

By Amal Al-Saeed

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

There is no doubt that classical music has the ability to evoke sensations, but opera singing has a skill that is difficult to master and I did it, according to Sawsan Al-Bahiti, the first Saudi professional female opera singer.

She attended the award ceremony held on the sidelines of the Saudi Media Forum recently in Riyadh.

Al-Bahiti hopes to present a Saudi Arabian opera that would to be successful across the world and thus finding a place in the annals of history, saying that opera singing depends on the strength of the soul and special voice skills. She also surprised her fans by announcing the holding of an opera party in the near future.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Al-Bahiti said she started singing opera since 2008. “My studies at the American University of Sharjah helped me learn operatic singing thanks to the choir at the university,” she said.

“I was trained by Dr. Emily Good-Perkins, an American opera artist who has a doctorate in vocal training, and Professor John Perkins, conductor of the orchestra and composer, putting my foot on the right track,” she added.

Al-Bahiti pins great hope on the recent announcement of the Ministry of Culture to open the doors of the Academy of Music and the Saudi Opera House. She sees this as the most important centers that must be established to enable the young men and women of the country to learn these arts.

Al-Bahiti was not fully satisfied with operatic singing, as she represented classic Arabic songs in an operative manner, enabling the Saudi and Arab audiences to enjoy them and understand their meanings.

Al-Bahiti is a first-class guitar player, who has been credited with entering the world of music ever since she was six years of age. The tremendous positive response from the Saudi public to this fine art encouraged her to continue in this field.

She is a fan of great musicians of all time — Frédéric Chopin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach.

In June this year, Al-Bahiti performed in a concert organized by the Ministry of Culture in Riyadh. She received a standing ovation when she opened the concert with the Kingdom’s national anthem, singing it in the operatic style. Al-Bahiti, who performed on stage several times is the owner of a Jeddah-based company La Mamma Catering.