Tuesday , October 24 2017

Opera House revives dream of five decades – Journey towards light begins

Ahmad-Al-Sarraf
Ahmad-Al-Sarraf

I LIKED the opera and classical music since my childhood. I do not know why, because neither my mother was a pianist nor my father was a ‘soprano’, with all my love and respect for them. But for some reason I was overwhelmed and gave me goosebumps whenever I heard Maria Callas, for example, singing La Traviata, Norma, or Madama Butterfly.

I’m not trying to show that I have vast knowledge in this area since after half a century of listening to opera and world music in general, after more than half a century of listening my understanding does not exceed the grasp of many people, but I speak here about my personal feelings of moment of euphoria that invades an individual while listening to the Indian song sung in a movie by Vyjayanthimala although I understood nothing but the word Rafiq.

Since the day I first attended the Opera in London in 1968 in addition to many other European Opera Houses I have been dreaming of an Opera house in Kuwait. I made a failed attempt to buy the restaurant of Opera Alaska in Milano which is considered the greatest Opera House of all.

A decade ago I told a wonderful lady from the Sabah family who is involved in distinguished musical activities that I am ready to donate a large sum of money towards the establishment of an Opera House in Kuwait.

I also informed her that I was ready to follow up the issue of collecting the money needed towards the construction of this establishment. On that occasion the sponsor of the Musical Salon said he is ready to offer the entire architectural designs of the project on his expense.

I dreamt of having an Opera House in Kuwait since 1968 when I attended the Opera London for the first time in addition to many other European Opera Houses. I continued to dream during my failed attempt to buy the restaurant Opera Alaska in Milano which is considered the greatest Opera House of all.

It is sad the dream died. Today the dream is back to life after a group of well-known State personalities were invited to attend the opening of the Muscat Opera House in the Sultanate of Oman.

They returned home with a good impression but regretted we in Kuwait do not have an Opera House yet — the Kuwait which was once called the Pearl of the Gulf and the center of enlightenment and culture in the entire region but still lacks an Opera House.

We had a wonderful theater, wonderful artistes and varied shows. Those activities have vanished because of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. They have forced the country into a dark and muddy tunnel where nothing exists except for silence and talk of dull issues.

On Monday, Oct 31, 2016 I was so happy to attend the opening of Kuwait Opera House at the Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Center. Frankly speaking I could describe my feelings of happiness when I was inside the opera for which I had waited for many years.

Since the outstanding project has already become a reality any talk about the expenses or who shall direct it is plain nonsense. This project is expected to spearhead values and confront backward thinking.

In wars money and souls are lost for the sake of victory. Today we are involved in a cultural war against those who kill joy and renaissance and lovers of darkness.

No voice is louder than the voice of our silent war against backwardness. We thank the government and everybody who has participated in the establishment of that outstanding site on the soil of Kuwait.

We hope Oct 31, 2016 will be written in letters of gold as a new chapter in the history of Kuwait — and beginning of the end of the dark tunnel and a turning point in Kuwait’s renaissance and advancement.

By Ahmed Al-Sarraf

 

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