Royal Opera House in All Its Splendor – “Don Quixote”

Last night, October 27th, was our first time attending a performance at The Royal Opera House here in Muscat.  It’s been open for 2 weeks now; officially opened by His Majesty to a privately invited audience on October 12th.  (The 1st public performance was 2 days later on Oct. 14th)  Tonight we attended The Opera House’s first official ballet.  Oct 14-15 was Opera Turandot, Oct 18 was “Placido Domingo Sings to Oman” and Oct 21 was “Renee Fleming & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra“.

The Royal Opera House really looks spectacular at night!

These pics were taken with a simple 12.1 automatic Sony Cyber-Shot camera. Next time I’ll have to take my Canon EOS 500D (for outside pics, I mean).

Surprise! Surprise! They DO let you take your camera into the Opera House, as long as it’s a simple automatic camera and as long as you don’t take pics inside the main theatre!  If you have any doubts, just make sure to ask before you take a pic.

Looking up in the main lobby.  Here is a closer look…

The building is gorgeous, inside and out!

The Omanis in the Royal Opera House don’t mind folks taking pictures of them at all! (Except for the Royal Guards of Oman guarding the doors for security reasons)

There are impressive ancient musical instruments and pieces in the main lobby along the wall.  It’s a museum-like collection and I’ve included a pic of these pottery serpents as I thought they were pretty neat.

There are plenty of friendly Omanis at the Opera House waiting to assist you in finding your seat!

Although people seem to disobey each and every rule in the cinemas of Oman, people were quite respectful during the performance at the opera house. We only noticed one family who tried taking photos inside the theatre (before the 1st act and only of one another it should be mentioned).  The manner in which the Omani guard approached them respectfully and simply reminded them that photography was prohibited was impressive.  A fair bit of coughing went on during the 2nd act, but what can you do?  🙂

Here are the choices for snacks during the intermission.  My honey had Combo #2 (RO 5/combo) and loved the chicken sandwich.  The brownie was delicious and went down well with my coffee.  Be warned that the 20-minute intermission is over before you know it.  Just enough time to go to the toilet, stand in line for a snack and once you’ve paid and are ready to enjoy, they’re telling you to get back in the theatre!  🙂

Lovely costumes! Most people were dressed to the nines!  There were a very people who came in jeans but you could sense that some of them felt uncomfortable like they made a bad choice in what to wear.  There were some very smartly dressed people (especially the ladies!) and the men that were wearing tuxs (2 or 3 that we saw) looked fantastic.  It was nice to see so many familar faces; a lot of the same faces we would see at the Al Bustan Palace performances.

There are lovely paintings in several of the hallways of the opera house.

Even the toilet signs are magnificent!  🙂 No detail too small!

My wife took this photo.  Imagine me getting arrested by the Royal Guards of Oman for trying to take a photo outside the ladies restroom! 🙂 No thanks!

One of my favorite pics of the evening!  🙂

The gorgeous cover of the program/programme.  (RO 2)  Photo: Mira. Cover Design: Maria Riccetto and Sascha Radetsky.  I highly recommend picking up a program for any show you may attend as it gives vital background info such as the Synopsis, profiles on the principal dancers and more!  The full title of “Don Quixote” is actually “Don Quixote: The Outlandish Comedy of Kitri’s Wedding”.  ROHM programmers requested this comedic ballet because “It’s a very accessible ballet, and the humor is universal“.

This gorgeous photo taken by Fabrizio Ferri (one of many fabulous pics in the program) is of the talented, principal dancer, Paloma Herrara.  She’s originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) since 1991.  Principal since 1995.  She really is a magnificent dancer to behold!  The male principal dancer (for 2 of the 3 performances in Oman), Cory Stearns from Mattituck, New York, was also fantastic.

This was my first time watching a professional ballet performance and it was an amazing experience!  The wonderful thing about watching a ballet is that you get a top notch orchestra (in this case “The State Hermitage Orchestra”) and incredible dancing, all in one show on one ticket for one price! 🙂

It was like we were transported to another world.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  The way the dancers could capture so much emotion in dance and even in their facial gestures at just the right moment.  It was truly a mesmerizing and enchanting evening.  In Act II there were 2 slight mishaps.  One of the female dancers quickly slipped but it was barely noticeable and she didn’t lose her composure.  Near the end of the act, one of the male actor’s mustache began to slowly become unglued and started giving him problems.  These human moments made it all the more exciting to see, knowing that such a phenomenal performance, like life, is prone to unexpected occurences and it’s thrilling to watch the actors adapt accordingly.  One of my favorite scenes was “Scene 2: The Dream” during Act II in which “Don Quixote has an enchanted dream of beautiful maidens…”  The timing and choreography in this scene was dreamlike and the way the ladies could dance on the tips of their toes is beyond description!

I remember seeing the time breakdown above and thinking that “it was going to be a long evening” but the time fly by so quickly as we were entertained so brilliantly by this talented group of performers.

A marvelous 1st night for us at the Muscat Royal Opera House!

They sell this lovely set of 12 postcards at the Royal Opera House for only 3 rials!  They are beautiful shots and I highly recommend picking up this great souvenir.

To buy tickets for the Royal Opera House Muscat, first check out which shows haven’t been sold out on their website.  My hat’s off to those of you who were wise enough to buy all the tickets before the performances were sold out!

88 responses to “Royal Opera House in All Its Splendor – “Don Quixote”

  1. But did you wear the tuxedo?

  2. Jenny,
    No, I went with a nice suit I picked up at Zara. Black suit, white shirt, black tie – glad no one got me confused with one of the waiters, haha! Maybe I’ll wear the tux on another evening out! 🙂

    • Andy,
      Today, I just happened to come across your blog and It is really heartening to know somebody like you is living in Muscat and running a great blog post. I hope to see more of it in the future. The pictures you posted on ROH are really great……

      I have one big problem – I had tried and am trying to get a ticket for some good European concerts – but somehow I am unable to succeed so far. I see all the programs are “SOLD OUT” by the time I clicked the programme calendar.
      Am I missing something?


  3. Great photos! I’m so excited!!!!! I bought all my tickets the day they went on sale (Andrea Bocelli, Giselle, Swan Lake). Can’t wait!

  4. Susan,
    You’re going to have some INCREDIBLE evenings! You were so smart to get the Andrea Bocelli tickets so quickly as they were sold out by the time we bought our tickets. We’re also attending Giselle and Swan Lake. Maybe we’ll see you there! 🙂 I hope you post something after seeing Andrea Bocelli.

  5. I’m seeing Giselle on the 11th and Swan Lake on the 29th. If you’re there on either of those dates, let m know and I’ll come say hi 🙂

  6. Susan,
    We’re seeing Giselle on the 10th but we are also watching Swan Lake on Dec. 29th. Yes, it would be so nice to meet up with my favorite Canadian-Omani Salalah-based journalist! 🙂

  7. Oh wow! Lucky you ….. I’m back in college and I was told all the dec shows are sold out :-/

  8. rantonit,
    Yes, I am very blessed to have tickets to 3 more performances! 🙂 Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit someday. Best of luck with your studies!

  9. Hi, Andy,
    Thank-you for such a great article. My daughter is a corps de ballet member at ABT, (one of the towns people in act I, and one of the dream maidens in act II :)) and had such an amazing time in Oman. She just got back to New York a few hours ago. Since I could not be there, I truly appreciate the pictures and comments you’ve made about the Royal Opera House and the performance. Best to you. Cheryl Trenary

  10. Andy, one final question…. were you able to take your cell phone into the theatre? I’m trying to figure out logistics for Bocelli tomorrow. I’d have my phone switched off, but if I’m being dropped off at the ROH what do I do with the damn phone? 🙂

  11. Cheryl,
    Wow! How sweet to hear from the mother of one of the talented ABT dancers! I’m glad you enjoyed my post on their performance. All of the dancers did a fabulous job. Please convey my thanks to your daughter (and all the ABT dancers) for such a brilliant performance! Kind regards! 🙂

    Because I came in my car, I left my cellphone in the car. One of my colleagues did bring his iphone in. He mentioned that when you take your things out of your pocket, just place your phone flat underneath your tickets in the tray and then scoop it up quickly after passing through. There was a general announcement to remind people to please switch off their phones which must mean that people are allowed to bring their phones in and they are assuming that people are responsible enough to turn them off. If such is the case, I am amazed that not one phone was seen or heard by me or my wife during the entire performance! 🙂

  12. What a stunning building!

  13. Absolutely stunning pictures — looks like an AMAZING night! 🙂

    • Mikalee,
      Thanks! 🙂 I recognized you right away as you are always writing the nicest comments on blogs which have been fleshly pressed! The 2 posts on your blog that I truly loved reading are: “Dear Universe: Can You Hear Me Now?” and “Dear Universe: Oops. My Bad…” with the hilarious story of your Diet Coke fridge, LOL. I definitely think both of those posts were “Freshly Pressed worthy”! 🙂 I’m honored to have you comment on my blog. Thanks!

  14. Amazing and royal indeed 🙂

  15. Although a Muslim county can maintain such a high stander of living. I have a secret desire to visit Oman. Thanks buddy for the post.

    • It’s great that you have a desire to visit Oman but why keep it “a secret desire”. Bring it on out into the open, ha!ha! 🙂 Muscat was just voted as the 2nd Best City to Visit in 2012 (London was 1st) by “Lonely Planet” so maybe now is your time. Thanks for commenting.

  16. Damn you are one lucky duck! I wanna go there so bad! No, nomI wanna dance there so bad haha 😀


    • Joe,
      One lucky duck is right! “Blessed beyond belief” is more how I see it though. 🙂 I see you’ve just started your blog and that you’re a Native North American. This doesn’t come up much, but I’m actually part Métis (1/32). Thanks for the comment “NATIVEBOYDANCER”! (What a screen name! 🙂 ) I hope you enjoy the whole blogging experience!

    • Yes, I am! 🙂 I enjoyed the pics from your post, “So. Toronto is “Fun” of the Toronto Zombie March! Nice blog you’re got there! Thanks for the comment.

  17. Wow! That building is beautiful! It’s wonderful to see that some cultures are still investing in the arts rather than sacrificing them for the bottom dollar. We lose a part of our souls when we lose what is beautiful. Thank you for letting me experience it through your photos and descriptions. I’ll be checking out the rest of your blog for certain! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thanks for the comment and the congrats! One thing I love about this whole being “Freshly Pressed thing” is seeing others’ blogs. Yours is FABULOUS! I see that you are a true lover of music and a musician yourself. Maybe someday we’ll see you here in Muscat at the Opera House playing your French horn! 🙂 (On a personal note, I also love that you’re a Southern Baptist as it was a Southern Baptist church I first started attended (Seoul International Baptist Church) after being born again.) I’m now following your blog. Keep up the fantastic blogging! (Your blog even has a gorgeous look to it!)

  18. thebigbookofdating

    What an amazing building!
    I love your photos, they are great

    • Thanks for the comment and compliment! 🙂 The photos turned out alright with just a simple camera used this time. Just wait till I take photos with my Canon EOS 500D at the next performance. 😉

  19. This is an amazingly beautiful post, and one that my heart relates to. I saw Paloma Herrera the first year she danced with the ABT: a young thing of 18! She is one of my favorites. I love the ballet too, but have never seen a performance center as beautiful as the one in Oman.

    Thanks for transporting us readers for a little while!


  20. Ronnie,
    Thanks for the comment. It must have been so nice to see Paloma Herrera during her 1st year! As a seasoned dancer, she mesmerized the audience here in Muscat the moment she stepped out on stage. (And the muscles! This ballet changed my whole preconceived notions of ballet dancers!) If the American Ballet Theatre ever comes back to ROHM, I’ll be the first to buy tickets to their next performance! Glad you enjoyed the post. You’ve got an incredible blog by the way. I love your humorous, entertaining style of writing and yet your posts often contain some very deep material as well.

  21. What’s not to love about opera? Everything is included, drama, costumes, stages, and beautiful music. Oh, yes and divas.

    • Agreed! But this was a ballet, not opera. “Opera Turandot” was their 1st opera on opening night October 14th. The next big opera here in Muscat (which we have tickets to!) will be “Opera Carmen” and we are really looking forward to it for the reasons you mentioned! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Pingback: I’ve Been “Freshly Pressed”! | Andy in Oman

  23. Those are some beautiful awesome pictures.. :-D.. and the place looks mythical..:-)

  24. Don’t know why, it kinda reminds me of Dubai



    • Ron,
      I wouldn’t know as I’ve only driven to Dubai once quickly to catch a flight! Dubai is on my short list of places to visit though. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂 And for stopping by the blog. Cheers!

  25. hodgepodge4thesoul

    Love to hear and see anything about the story my name is from. Lovely shots and how fortunate you are to have attended such a beautiful production. Thank you for sharing with all of us 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliment regarding the photos. We really were fortunate to be able to attend such a brilliant production. It was my pleasure sharing this lovely memory with you all. That’s one of the beauties of blogging, right?! 😉 By the way, I LOVE your faith-based blog. Very inspiring (and “inspired”!) stuff there. Keep up the great blogging!

  26. so jealous! I love Don Quixote! Looks like you had a lovely time!

    • The entire evening was surreal! Perhaps having my gorgeous wife with me made it all the more dreamlike! 😉 I had to pinch myself occasionally to remind myself of where I was, haha! Thanks for the comment!

  27. Hi Andy,

    I dont want to be picky about your blog content but the Opera House was actually inaugurated and formally opened to an invited audience on 12 October 2011 by HM, not 14 Oct. The first public performance was on 14 October.

    • Not picky at all. I appreciate corrections like that. Thanks for letting me know. I hate getting stuff like that wrong. Will change it right away. I owe you! Thanks again! 🙂

  28. Stunning photos of Oman’s new “Royal Opera House”! Having lived in the Arabian Peninsula since 2000, I have been amazed at the number of “top notch” cultural events and opportunities in the region. Continue to enjoy Oman (probably my favorite country in the Middle East)!! And congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed”!

    • Thanks, Michele! 🙂
      I’ve only been in Oman 4 years, so you’ve got 7 years on me! With all that experience and love for the region, it’s no surprise that your blog is filled with some great material. I love it and I’ve added you (& Bishara!) on the blogroll. 🙂 Cheers!

      • Thank you for the kind words, Andy! It’s so good of you to add me to your blogroll! I’m adding you to my blogroll, as well.
        . . . And hearty congratulations on you and your “honey bunch” expecting your second child!
        Looking forward to future posts!!

  29. The royal opera house is wow!

    • Not only is it “wow!” – It’s “WOW!” 🙂 (BTW, I enjoyed several posts on your blog and had a good chuckle over the Bridezilla one in particular!)

  30. oh…to dance, to sing, to act…to become one with the scene….how developed your eye to catch the ballerina’s slip and the dancer’s peeling mustache…toi toi toi!! the show must always “go on”…a musical theater performer, my heart skipped absorbing your words. thank you!! your “honey bunch” glows! lucky woman!

    • Thanks for the lovely comment! “my heart skipped absorbing your words” – I wish it were so with my students! 😉 Thanks for the comment about my “honey bunch”. She glows 24/7! (Partly because she’s expecting our 2nd in April!)

  31. Thank you so much for you complete description of you evening at the Opera House and attending American Ballet Theatre’s production of Don Q. I too am a parent of one of the ballet dancers you saw. Our son, Arron Scott, was the Lead Gyspy (shirtless) in the gypsy camp the night you attended. We can’t travel to see his every performance but your blog allowed us to feel like we were almost there! I will be sharing it with extended family so they too can enjoy everything you had to share!

    • My pleasure. Your son was/is quite the dancer! The Gypsy Camp in Scene 1 of Act 2 was beautifully choreographed. I can’t even imagine the years of training and the practise involved in running such a production! You must be very proud! Thanks SO much for taking the time to comment on my blog. It really is an honor to hear from some of the family members of the ABT ballet dancers. All the best to you and your family! 🙂

  32. Wow! The Opera looks like some enchanted palace from Arabian Nights or something. Stunning!!!

    • It really is a stunning edifice! It’s too bad I couldn’t take pics of the theatre itself as it is truly something to behold. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’ve seen you around the wordpress blogosphere (I think you were freshly pressed once, right?) and it’s nice to see you made it here to my humble little blog! 🙂

  33. Wow, absolutely stunning. I can’t get over the beautiful structure and adornment inside. What magic it is. Thank you for sharing.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. It really is a magical and enchanting building. The friendly, ready-to-serve Omanis all decked out in traditional clothing make it all the most enjoyable! 🙂

  34. Wish I could have been there! Paloma Hererra is one of my favorite dancers. I absolutely love dancing, and at my dance school last year participated in staging and performing excerpts from Don Quixote! Ahhh…the performance you attended must have been beautiful!

    • Sophia,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. The comments from family members of ABT and professional dancers are even more appreciated! 🙂 This performance has brought a new appeciation of ballet and art in general to a rather unsophisticated small-town Canadian! 🙂 Yes, it was a beautiful performance and an enchanting evening!

    • Jamie,
      Thanks a lot! Love your blog and your style of writing. Refreshing and genuine. I’ve subscribed and looking forward to seeing more. Loved the pic/humor of “the lamest Halloween costume ever” (that’s my corny kind of humor, haha!) and LOVED your post on “Respect the Blog”! Keep up the fantastic blogging!

  35. Awesome post! I loved that picture of the dragon carvings in particular.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    I will subscribe to your blog.

    • Thanks! 🙂 Your blog title immediately captured my attention, haha! Some funny stuff there. I joked with the wife about starting my own blog titled “Oh God, My Wife Is Filipina” but judging from her reaction, I think I’ll stick to blogging about concerts, restaurants and sermons! Glad to know someone else enjoyed the dragon pottery pieces as well! They really stood out to me. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

  36. Wow, that looks simply amazing!

  37. What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  38. WOW. These pictures are simply breathtaking.

  39. Marvellous pictures. You seem to have the “crème de la crème” over there. I was pleased to see your first time watching a professional ballet performance was an amazing experience in a dreamlike décor!
    Great orchestra, marvellous Ballet company with memorable dancers and than such a magic environment. Oooohhhh! thanks for lifting up a little bit of the veil.

    • Marcus,
      Glad you enjoyed the pics. Thanks for the compliment regarding the pics! My pleasure sharing my 1st Ballet performance with you all. Can’t wait for the next ballet performing here on November 10th!

  40. Pingback: Discover The Royal Opera House, Muscat | Masters At Travel Blog

  41. what a magnificent building. In the white is like a huge wedding cake.

  42. These photos are beautiful!

Don't be Shy! Leave a Reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s