The Royal Opera House Muscat celebrates its sixth anniversary in October, at the start of a seventh season of quality productions in the broad mix of genres – opera, concerts, ballet and dance, local artists, Arab performances, jazz, world music, musicals, family shows – that has become its hallmark.
There’s a lot of opera, of course: ROHM is a conventional proscenium theatre with a grand auditorium that suits big productions and it has the acoustics for big arias. Visiting companies are doing Aida (Teatro Regio Torino), Pagliacci (directed by Zeffirelli for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma), the Rossini Opera Festival’s L’Occasione fa il Ladro, and La Sonnambula from Fondazione Arena di Verona.
There’s also an ROHM coproduction, Bellini’s Norma, done in partnership with Opéra de Rouen. ROHM director-general, Umberto Fanni, is particularly keen on this: “The Royal Opera House Muscat is continuing on the path of transformation from a predominantly hosting institution to a theatre that also creates its own productions in-house”.
ROHM has also proved to be a good venue for ballet. The first of the new season is a much-garlanded classical Swan Lake from Astana Opera (which includes a ballet company) and the orchestra of Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice. Avant-garde ballet comes with a Cinderella by Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, choreography by Maguy Marin.
Pas de Deux for Fingers and Toes combines the violin virtuosity of Vadim Repin, described by Yehudi Menuhin as the “best and most perfect violinist”, with the Bolshoi’s hyper-exquisite prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova.
Homage to Luciano Pavarotti is a gala concert (Fiorenza Cedolins, Sumi Jo, Marcello Giordani and Francesco Meli) with a three-week exhibition of Pavarotti memorabilia over Christmas and the New Year. The ROHM’s roster of singers in concert also includes Roberto Alagna, Aleksandra Kurzak, and Marcelo Álvarez from opera; jazz diva Dianne Reeves and samba king Gilberto Gil; and the fabled Cliff Richard.
There are nine Omani and/or Arab shows. Yemeni singer Balqees guests at the annual Omani Women’s Day Celebration; Arab superstars like Sami Yusuf, Majid El Mohandes, Lotfi Bushnak and Mohammed Tharwat are coming; and local talent includes the rising Omani star Salah Al Zadjali in concert with Egypt’s Medhat Saleh
The Christmas show is Peter Pan; ROHM’s annual Pipe Organ Concert features top organist Wayne Marshall who also conducts the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra; and another stellar Russian violinist, Sergej Krylov, will play with the prestigious Russian National Orchestra conducted by Pier Carlo Orizio.
In total the ROHM season has 35 shows (and 55 separate performances), which will add lustre to management’s goal of branding the Royal Opera House as “a legendary place where the dreams of civilisations are realised”.
We’ll be listing ROHM dates in the Agenda calendar. In the meantime you can get more information here.