The performance, Exhilarating Rhythm, last night at the Royal Opera House Muscat lived up to its name. Even though I watched the Japanese Taiko drummers 2 days earlier at SQU, I was just as captivated by the precision, power, coordination and concentration when watching Eitetsu Hayashi and his fellow performers the second time. I knew that the performance at the Opera House would be somewhat different from their previous show because the show was marketed as a combination of Japanese and Omani drumming.
This was the view of the stage from our seats on the 2nd level. We barely made it on time due to some confusion with the tickets I was given. They failed to print out “2nd level” on the top left corner (which is the norm) and 2 of the ushers guided me to the ground level seats. Imagine our suprise to find out that someone was in “our seats”. Turned out “our seats” were in fact “their seats” and we hustled up 2 flights of stairs just minutes before they closed the auditorium doors. There is GOOD reason that they suggest taking your seats a good 15 minutes early, folks! 🙂
The first act of Part 1 was titled “Ichiban Taiko/Chakuto” which had the more experienced drummer, Eitetsu Hayashi, warming up the crowd. The program referred to it as “announcing the opening of a theater“. Here is a clip of the first 3 minutes of the first act:
Of course this was not recorded in the opera house! This video is from the SQU performance and they happened to have the same opening act.
During the 2nd part of the 1st Act, one of the younger Japanese performer’s drum fell off of its stand! I was very impressed with how it didn’t seem to phase him in the slightest and he kept on performing brilliantly. When the time was right, one of the stage hands came out and quickly helped him get the stand together. Well done! Here is an exciting 3 minute clip of this high-energy segment (from SQU which they also performed at the opera house) titled “Mitsumai” or “Three Dances“:
Another fine painting on one of the upper floors of the Opera House
Omani Drummers/Performers were also a real treat to watch. They are a professional group from the coastal town of Quriyat, established by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture in 1998. They are known by the name “Al Fiqa Al Mithaliye“, or “Omani Folklore Band“. They have performed for numerous audiences around the world (including Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Algeria, Ameria, Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar) and I must say that it was the best Omani cultural performance I’ve seen in my 4.5 years in the Sultanate. Bravo!
The last part of the evening was “A collaboration of Japanese and Omani performers“. It was nice to see the older Eitetsu Hayashi banging on the big drum then alternating on hand cymbals and a small drum while the four younger Japanese drummers pounded away playfully next to the 2 Omani drummers as the 6 Omani ladies (dressed in beautiful, multi-colored dresses in contrast to the everday black abaya) skipped across the stage joined by 13 Omani gentlemen as they danced with swords and at other times playfully tapped the ground with thin shepherd-like stalves. Great way to celebrate 40 years of Omani and Japanese diplomatic relations!
We couldn’t take pictures of the performance, but there’s always the friendly Omani ushers. I have never heard of them ever rejecting a guest’s request for a photo so far! 🙂
Another fantastic evening at Royal Opera House Muscat!
By the way, performances are now announced for April at the Opera House. ROHM wrote on facebook: “A new musical journey in April! Enjoy the magical fairty tale of Cnderella on the 4th, 5th and 6th, indulge in a night of Mozart and Schubert with Camerate Salzburg on the 9th and visit the peak of melody with The Vienna Boys’ Choir on the 13th. Furthermore, enjoy the euphoric sounds of Omar Faruk Tekbilek on the 15th, experiance the Soiree Symphony Concert with Orchestra of the Accademia Teatro Alla Scala, or an Opera Gala with the best of Italian Opera on the 19th and conclude on the right note with Soprano Opera singer Angela Gheorghiu on the 25th!”