Change coming … slowly.
My colleague Abdullah Ghazi Al-Mudhaf wrote: ‘Art has amazing control. It solely has the right to tamper with your old memories, explore them, and search between the wrinkles and ring the bells of happy and sad times, and sometimes make you laugh or cry.
‘It is the beautiful art that can change the equation of time, take you down the innocent memory lane, reflect on the faces of your mother and father, bring back memories of birds that migrated and did not come back, the school days, lost fragrance, remember the teacher who criticized you, etc. It is the beautiful art that alone has that right.
Al-Mudhaf continued saying this art was reflected through the best images in the epic of the 1980s at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center accompanied by a legendary orchestra led by the great Maestro Mohammad Baqer and directed by the young and creative Kuwaiti Jassim Al-Qames’… Unquote
I quoted this in spite of all the confusion surrounding the construction and cost of the Opera House, but it seems all this is behind us, that is to say nothing after we have seen the results of this edifice, which changed the cultural and recreational atmosphere in Kuwait, and made many of us less willing to travel, less resented, and less complaining and stopped asking the usual question: ‘Where to go, there is no place to go to’?
The opera season during the first half of 2018 was wonderful by all standards and the supervisors show excellence and supremacy in the quality, level and degree of acceptance. We now see the pioneers of art and theater and opera coming from neighboring countries, and from Qatar in particular and from segments of the Kuwaiti society that we had not believed that one day we will see them in the corridors of this grand edifice.
This indicates that radical changes are taking place in society, albeit slowly, but with extraordinary force, especially with those who dared to emerge from the cocoon that the backward forces believed they would remain there forever.
These daring people now pay less or no attention to the empty warnings and threats of these people. This in itself explains the extreme hostility of those backward forces to the idea of the opera house.
It was a dream to see a group of 80 musicians, most of them from national cadres and from all walks of life, playing this splendor on a world stage in Kuwait. This great cultural and artistic effort would not have been possible without the support of the Amiri Diwan.
Without the efforts exerted by the supervisors of the Jaber Center, such as the creative art director, Faisal Khaja, and his team, including Alia Ghanim, Ahmad Al-Salhi, Reham Al-Samarrai, Hamad Al Rayes, and others – sincere and creative young men – we could not expect much to achieve.
I send them my heartfelt greetings.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf