- Stunning Festival of Night-Time Hot Air Ballooning
- Bocelli Captivates Hearts with His Majestic Voice in Winter at Tantora Festival
- Blakeridge Indigo Wins $4M USD 120 km Endurance Horse Race
Story 1: Hot Air Balloon Festival
Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia – February 1st-9th, 2019: A Stunning Festival of Night-time Hot Air Ballooning – sixty hot air balloons took to the sky in the region’s first Hot Air Balloon Festival offering rides to festival goers and locals alike.
Each night the balloons light up the night skies with a daily ‘glow show’.
Story 2: Andrea Bocelli’s Desert Canyon Performance
Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia – February 2, 2019:On Friday, world-renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli presented a grand artistic performance at Maraya Concert Hall as part of Winter at Tantora Festival, which was recently launched by the Royal Commission for Al-Ula. The Festival features a variety of heritage, cultural and artistic events inspired by the heritage of Al-Ula, which dates back thousands of years. It attracted a wide audience from different regions of the Kingdom and beyond.
In the inspiring concert, Bocelli sang some of his most famous songs, including “Overture”, “La donna è mobile”, “Di quella pira, Waltz” and “Donna non vidi mai”
As one of the most famous operatic vocalists of all time, Andrea Bocelli is an opera singer, songwriter and international Italian musician, credited with restoring classical music to the throne of world music lists. Born on September 22, 1958 in Lajatico, Italy, Bocelli showed great interest in music at an early age and began learning piano at the age of six. Later, he learned to play the flute and the saxophone.
“This is my first time to perform in Saudi Arabia and I am very pleased with the great reception and hospitality I received from the organizers and the wonderful audience here,” said Bocelli. “AlUla is a great surprise, it is a beautiful natural destination and it has been an honor to sing in such majestic surrounds.”
Described as having the most beautiful voice in the world, Bocelli presented a concert that reflected the splendor of his majestic voice, which inspired millions around the world. Soon after his birth, Bocelli was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which made him partially blind. He then lost his vision completely at the age 12, after he was hit on the head during a game of football. He participated in several musical competitions and recorded his first album in 1994 in Italy. He made great success in Europe shortly after his album “Bocelli” was released. In addition, he participated in collective and cooperative works with a number of international artists and musicians, and released many albums. Bocelli was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He received Grammy nominations for Best New Artist in 1999, for Best Sound Performance for Sogno in 2000, and for best vocal collaboration for The Prayer.
The Maraya Concert Hall:
Maraya – mirror in Arabic – is a purpose-built concert hall and an extension of the environment around it in design and beauty. It includes a comprehensive stage equipped with the latest audio and lighting technology, as well as animated rear blinds that present to the audience the beauty of the mountains of Al-Ula. The latest digital projection technology has been used to describe a historical and visual story on the same stage.
Maraya can accommodate up to 500 guests. It includes a private VIP area, a gallery for world-class artists, such as Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, a reception area and artists rooms. Architect Massimo Fogliati, and the Italian designer Florian Buji of Geo Forma Studio designed the building that takes the shape of a huge cube covered with mirrors from its four sides to reflect the beauty of surrounding nature and the curiosity of man throughout history to explore the dazzling landscapes. Maraya will not rival the beauty of Al-Ula, but rather will reflect and highlight it while offering a unique experience for guests to unite with the pristine environment around them.
On weekends, Maraya Concert Hall will host concerts by world-renowned artists who made their mark in the field of Arab and international art. The first night of the Festival will feature a concert by the Arab artist Mohamed Abdo. The following concerts will include the Arab artist Majida El Roumi, the Arab artist Um Kulthum via hologram, the musician Omar Khairat, the Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, the Greek composer Yanni, the French violinist Renauld Capuçon and the Chinese pianist Lang Lang. They will dazzle the audience with their impressive performance and artistic sense.
Story 3: Blakeridge Indigo Wins $4M USD 120 km Endurance Horse Race
AlUla, Saudi Arabia – 27 Jumada AlAwal 1440 AH, corresponding to 2 February 2019: Held under the patronage of his Royal Highness Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Medinah AlMunawarah Province, awarded the winners of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, which concluded today in Fursan village in AlUla with the presence of His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, the governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla.
The race was also attended by the Chairman of the Saudi Equestrian Federation, his Royal Highness Prince Abdallah bin Fahd bin Abdallah and Engineer Amr AlMadani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, as part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to strengthen AlUla’s position as an exceptional tourist destination boasting a unique heritage rich in arts, culture and sports.
At the end of the race, his Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Madinah AlMunawarah Province presented the cup to the owner of Blakeridge Indigo who completed the race in 4 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds, in the presence of His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla and His Highness Prince Abdallah bin Fahd bin Abdallah, Chairman of the Saudi Equestrian Federation. His Royal Highness Prince Faisal lauded the efforts of the Royal Commission for AlUla and the Saudi Equestrian Federation teams as well as the Emirates Equestrian Federation for the organization of the event and the great support they provided to the participants.
His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, said: “The history of AlUla bears a lot of inscriptions that highlight the population’s interest in Arabian horses, which makes AlUla the perfect location for the launch of the prestigious Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, the biggest prize of its kind in the world, with the full support and close supervision from His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla. We are happy to see the huge efforts of the residents of AlUla as we seek to provide more job opportunities to its youth through the organization of different events and activities.” The Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla congratulated the competitors and Salem Hamad AlKutbi from M7 Endurance stables on his win.
The race was part of the Winter at Tantora festival in AlUla held in partnership with the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Emirati Equestrian Federation to highlight the heritage of AlUla that goes back thousands of years.
The FEI sanctioned, two-star classification race covered 120 km over four loops through the magnificent mountains of AlUla, a technical course between desert and mountains. The race saw the participation of 234 riders from 12 countries around the world including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Spain, Italy, France and Uruguay.
The riders competed for a prize pot of 15 million SAR (4m USD).
Horse Wameed from M7 Endurance stables came in 2nd place who completed the race in 4 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds, and horse Razorback Mechano from MRM stables came in the 3rd place who completed the race in 4 hours 25 minutes 44 seconds.
Through Winter at Tantora, The Royal Commission for AlUla aims to promote the position and archaeological history of the city as an international tourist destination, and to eventually attract more investments and provide job opportunities to the young generation in AlUla.
00:10 – Pre-dawn 60 hot air balloons are being filled and readied on the first day of the AlUla Hot Air Balloon Festival
00:18 – Aerial shot of the balloons surrounded by the beautiful natural landscape of AlUla as they start to take flight
00:31 – Sweeping shot of the balloons, some in flight some taking off
00:36 – Firing the balloons
00:41 – Wide shot of the balloons over AlUla in the early morning light
01:18 – Night shots as the balloons are readied for the nightly ‘glow show’
01:28 – The glow show
01:39 – Andrea Bocelli in “Al Maraya” concert hall, he wore a traditional Saudi headdress – a ‘shemagh’ for the final encore
01:50 – Sweeping shots of the 200 person choir and orchestra
02:30 – Close up of Andrea Bocelli, a smile across his face
03:20 – Andrea Bocelli second song
04:35 – Andrea waltzes on stage
04:53 – The start line at the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance race, 7AM
04:57 – A rider cooling off his horse as he enters the first vet check
05:12 – Arabian horses are the horse of choice for Endurance racing due to their stamina and speed
05:22 – Rider leaves the vet gate for Loop 2 of the race
05:47 – One of the race vets checking the heart rate of the horse as vet check. Part of the skill of endurance racing is the balance between the horse’s condition and speed
06:12 – Horse galloping through the AlUla valley
06:20 – The three trophies and medals. The prize money for the race stood at $4m USD
06:27 – Slow motion of horses galloping through the desert landscape
06:43 – His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bun Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Madinah walking with Prince Badr Bin Farhan Al Saud, Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla
06:48 – Prize giving, Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai accepts the first-place award. His son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai accepted the second-place award.
07:00 – Ends.
Winter at Tantora Festival is held in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia from December 20, 2018 to February 23, 2019. It includes heritage, cultural and artistic activities inspired by the heritage of Al-Ula, the home of important heritage sites in the north of the Arabian Peninsula and is the meeting point of many civilizations throughout the ages. Every weekend, the Festival will host artistic events and concerts by world-renowned artists who made their mark in the field of Arab and international art.
For more information, and to ensure attendance at concerts and participation in various events, please book your tickets today at www.winterattantora.com