Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed Monday at the launch of a huge cultural center in Kuwait which includes a 2,000-seat opera house, the first in the oil-rich Gulf state.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah opened the $750-million center and watched a spectacular show that combined international and local music.

Top Kuwaiti singers, artists and performers took part in the event which was also attended by a large number of local and foreign dignitaries.

The sprawling 215,000- square-meter center is located in the heart of the capital Kuwait City and comprises four buildings, a theater center, a music center, a conference center and a library for historical documents.


The four buildings at the center, whose geometric design was inspired by Islamic architecture, are covered with thousands of square meters of titanium shell.

Named after the late emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad, the center has several state-of-the art halls, including a 1,200-seat concert hall, as well as an indoor parking facility for 3,200 vehicles.

The project, designed by SSH firm, was completed in just 22 months.

Although Kuwait has been the leader in theater and television serials in the Gulf region, it did not have a modern theater. afp