The Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman has announced its latest season with a series of exciting lineups, featuring contemporary and classical music, opera, and dance. The festival will showcase performances by renowned artists, including Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir, Emirati musician Hussain Al Jassmi and US jazz trumpeter Chris Botti among several others.
The event has over 70 productions lined up featuring talents and performance companies spanning the Middle East and North Africa, Africa, Europe, South America, and Australia, with the spectacular venue hosting large-scale productions of various operas, such as La Traviata and L’Elisir d’Amore, and a pair of concerts exclusively dedicated to the work of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum.
The entire show is curated keeping in mind the health and safety guidelines. The venue will be operating at 50% capacity with strict social distancing and entry will be allowed only for fully vaccinated individuals. The wearing of masks is made mandatory along with temperature checks upon entry.
With tickets now available online, here are six things you need to know about the Royal Opera House Muscat’s new season:
The festival opens with a magnificent performance staging of the 19th-century opera La Traviata, featuring Placido Domingo. Performed alongside the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Carlo Felice, of Italy, the Spanish singer will assume the role of Germont on the opening night on September 22. The opera by Giuseppe Verdi will also feature guest artists Nino Machaidze and Vittorio Grigolo. The production will continue on for two more shows on September 23 and 24, while Domingo will conclude after the opening night.
The public favorite and family-friendly Hansel Und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck will be showcased by the Deutsche Oper Berlin on October 28 and 29, while the New Year will witness Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore by Teatro Lirico di Cagliari on January 5 and 7. Two works from Mozart will also be staged starting with Le Nozze di Figaro on February 16 and 18 by Milan performing arts school and center Accademia Teatro Alla Scala, followed by Cosi fan Tutte by Opera Australia on May 4 and 6.
The festival will feature performances from Arab talents such as Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir, who will play three consecutive shows from October 13 to 15, and Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi who will grace the stage with a couple of performances on March 2 and 3. Two concerts will also be dedicated to the work of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. Named ‘Kulthumiyat’, the shows will feature performances by singers Yosra Manouch and Mai Farouk. Finally, the concert event will conclude with a show by Lebanese pop star Assi El Hallani and Egyptian Marwa Nagy on May 18 and 19.
A night at the ballet
Italian danseur Roberto Bolle is all set to bring his gala show to Muscat on December 15 and 16. Titled ‘Roberto Bolle and Friends’, the show features a classic and contemporary program curated by the dancer. Cairo Opera will also bring forth a couple of vibrant productions to the festival, with El Leila el Kebira and Zorba the Greek on February 24 and 25 respectively, while the Opera di Roma Ballet and the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra will collaborate for the much-loved opera Giselle from March 9 to 11.
The festival will see two performances by Trumpeter Chris Botti, a globally renowned instrumental artist on November 10 and 11, and Kenny Garrett, a saxophonist and flautist on January 19 and 20.
World music concerts
The festival is seasoned throughout with a selection of handpicked concerts by international artists featuring a variety of genres and cultures. An international folk music festival will take place on January 26 and 27 featuring groups from Oman, the Philippines, and Brazil, while the Costa Rica Virtuoso Guitars quartet will showcase performances with a program of Latin American instrumental and chamber music pieces on February 2 and 3.
The event will also include Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara’s Afro-pop on February 9 and 10, while US musician Wayne Marshall will play the opera house’s pipe organ on May 13 along with the Czech Boys Choir and the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.