The Inaugural Season of the Royal Opera House Muscat

I went to the Royal Opera House today to buy some tickets for upcoming concerts.  What a place! It’s gorgeous, inside and out, and bound to look even better as construction comes to a close and landscaping is completed.

The Royal Opera House will be the 1st Opera House in the Arabian Gulf and the 2nd in the Middle East! (The Cairo Opera House opened in 1988)  The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) will officially open on October 14th; just 16 days from now!  The establishment of the ROHM is a great move by HM Sultan Qaboos in a daring attempt to place Muscat on the map of International Performing Arts.  These are exciting days to be living in Muscat.

That’s the Opera Mall which is right next to the Opera House should be open by January 2012.

Construction still going on…or last minute touches?

The Opera House can accomodate an audience of 1,100 viewers and has 550 parking slots so unless there are hourdes of singles driving to the performances alone, parking should not be a problem.  Sweet!

Apparently there was a soft opening on September 7th in which there was a performance of the opera “Rigoletto“.  Check out this blogpost about one gentleman’s experience on that night.  I love his description of the interactive touch screens which are able to translate the opera being watched into a language of the audience members choice.  Can’t wait to experience it all.  Talk about high-tech!

The inside of the building is gorgeous but they are very strict about their “no photography” rule.  With the Royal Guards there to implement it, not even Andy in Oman was going to risk taking a shot, ha!ha!  Cameras, video cameras and even cellphones will not be allowed inside the building and they said that there will be metal detectors at all entrances to ensure this policy is followed.  For me, personally being threatened once with being fined 10,000 Omani rials and getting thrown 4 months in jail by the director of ROSO (Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra) if I did not remove videos and pictures from my youtube channel and blog is lesson enough for me…

When you go to the Box Office at the Royal Opera House, you can pick up one of these beautiful brochures showing the Inaugural Season’s performances.  The first 2 performances are sold out already! (“Opera Turandot” on Oct 14-15 and Placido Domingo sings to Oman on Oct 18)

Important info on the back of the brochure.  Time is of the essence so get online at the Royal Opera House official website, or get yourself over to the BoxOffice or at one of the listed hotels that sells tickets to get your tickets soon as they’re going fast!  My wife and I are really looking forward to seeing the American Ballet Theatre perform “Don Quixote”  on Oct 27, another ballet called Giselle on Nov 10, “Opera Carmen” on Dec 21 and the world famous ballet “Swan Lake ” on Dec 29.)  I was originally only going to buy tickets to 2 performances but the lady, Victoria, at the box-office convinced me to buy tickets to a total of 4 performances in order to avail myself of the 35% season privileged price.

Life in Muscat is definitely looking up! My hat’s off to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for his vision of bringing music and the performing arts to the Sultanate!  This is going to be a wonderful season in Muscat with some incredible evenings out with the wife!  🙂

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7 responses to “The Inaugural Season of the Royal Opera House Muscat

  1. Looks great inside also. We were driving by the Opera house almost every day because we often spent beach days at the beach near Intercontinental hotel.
    But we did never think to try to see the inside.

  2. Wow this looks amazing. I hope that Alan & I will have reason to visit Muscat again soon. Alan could do some fab paintings!!!

  3. Not wanting to sound pessimistic, but given the way people behave in cinemas in Oman, how will they a. ensure everyone turns up on time (will they really stop people walking in after performances have started?) and b. stop people using their phones during performances – seriously…? These little civilities of the world outside the Gulf have yet to penetrate Omani culture.

    Or should we assume that only westerners or very westernised Omanis will be interested in western Opera and classical music?

    Adnan

  4. ‘Adnan’, I have seen your comments before, you really make make so much more sense than all the bloggers in Oman. Blog!!

  5. “Or should we assume that only westerners or very westernised Omanis will be interested in western Opera and classical music?”

    Definitely. But maybe it’ll change in the future. It would also be nice if they would play old and contemporary Arabic music. It would be interesting too. I also had instantly in mind your (b.) argument. When I had been teaching in Kuwait I had told my students that there would never be an opera house in Kuwait since Kuwaitis would never switch off their mobile phones. But maybe that will also change soon. Best, Fahad

  6. It is let down by the online booking system. It threw me out twice and I ended up with two sets of tickets to Carmen. While there was a warning to check your order as a non-refund policy operates (why?) you can’t check as it does not show what you have ordered. I have now two spare tickets at 50 rials each that are non-transferable. I have naturally asked to return the tickets but not expecting to get anywhere with the request so feeling resentful and diddled.
    Jenny

  7. @Berthold,
    Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see a performance next time you’re in the Sultanate!

    @Susan,
    Yes, another reason to visit! Alan should definitely do a watercolour (soon!) as this is sure to be a major icon of Muscat for years to come.

    @Adnan,
    Realistic concerns may sound a tad bit pessimistic but these are concerns that many (including myself!) might share so thanks for bringing it up. I too have had super annoying experiences while trying to enjoy a cinema here including the childlike loud and vulgar reactions of adult men whenever a halfway decent looking woman would appear on screen…Even Al Bustan Palace they seemed to allow several people enter late even though the warning was the same there. I really hope they stick to their regulations which are clearly marked on the back of all tickets! They seem even more civilized than Al Bustan’s performances as they say that you must be present 10 minutes before the performance. LEt’s see…I’ll be interested in seeing if these rules are implemented and will give you a full report! 😉 By the way, if you ever do start a blog as anonymous suggested, let me know!

    @Fahad,
    Thanks for the comment! Yes, maybe things will change. We can only hope. Such opera houses are a great means of educating people on what is “civilized behavior” I believe.

    @Jenny,
    I am so sorry to hear about your horrible experience purchasing tickets online! I was so afraid of making a booboo myself that that is why I went to the Royal Opera House to buy them. If anyone here sees your comment and wants to purchase 2 tickets to the opera “Carmen” maybe they can contact you at mumoftheanimals@gmail.com and buy them off you. Let me know how it goes with trying to sell those tickets!

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