Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji wowed the all-female crowd, according to reports.
It’s been a year of great change in Saudi Arabia—and the kingdom shows no signs of slowing things down any time soon.
Hiba Tawaji performed at Riyadh’s King Fahd Cultural Centre this week, in Saudi’s first-ever solo gig by a woman at a public venue.
Wearing Elie Saab, the Lebanese singer took to the stage in front of an all-female crowd, The Telegraph reports, and treated ticket holders to Arab classics plus covers of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston tracks.
“Thank you for an unforgettable evening, you gave me wings! I love you all,” the singer posted on Instagram shortly after the show.
“This is my first time in Saudi Arabia and I received a warm welcome and I am honoured to be one of the first women to sing in the theatres of Saudi Arabia,” Tawaji also said on stage, according to NBC.
The concert comes as part of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s post-oil economy plan under which the government aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.
The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.
Under the plans, King Salman issued a historic royal decree in September, allowing females the right to lawfully gain driving licences in the kingdom from June 2018.
Women will be able to attend sports events in stadiums in three cities from next year, and female students in the kingdom are now allowed to carry their phones while on campus.
Additionally, more Saudi females have been appointed to top jobs, a royal directive allowed women to use certain government services without a male guardian’s consent, and recent approval was issued for the go-ahead of women’s gyms.
Images: Hiba Tawaji/Instagram