Saudi Arabia plans opera house

Saudi Arabia has announced it will become the latest country on the Arabian Peninsula to build an opera house. Located in the port city of Jeddah, it could be open by 2022.

Jeddah has a population of four million and is one of the country’s main tourist centres. Its opera house will join other new centres opened in Dubai, Oman and Kuwait.

Until recently live music was banned in the country, while recorded music could not be played in shops or restaurants. However, since Mohammad bin Salman became crown prince in June 2017 the country has been lifting some of its strict entertainment laws – for example, its 35-year ban on cinema screenings.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA), who are responsible for controlling culture in the country, also revealed an expanded events programme. In a statement, it said that: “Saudis of all ages can look forward to an unprecedented year of culture and entertainment in the Kingdom.”

In total, the GEA will present more than 5,000 events in 56 cities in 2018. The country has allocated USD64bn (€52bn) for entertainment over the next 10 years as part of its Vision 2030 project, which is designed to diversify the country’s economy.