The Royal Opera House Muscat promised “a great season with more than 100 curtain raises” for the year 2019-2020 during its official announcement held last week. They refer to this year’s season as a “landmark season of cultural treasures with diverse productions from the world’s performing arts sector.” Some of their offerings include a great mix of operas courtesy of long-running and experienced production companies in the world, ballets, orchestras and world-renown singing stars not only in the Arab world but internationally. They also will be bringing in three operas which were customised for students and families and the mesmerising ballets will be played in some months alongside spectacular cultural shows and national events. For those just starting to get acquainted with the opera house, we are handpicking six performances that we think you definitely have to take note of and see.
Opera by Georges Bizet
Performed by Teatro Colon Buenos Aires
Carmen will kick off things this season with scheduled performances on September 11, 12 and 14. Considered by many as one of the greatest operas of all time, it is filled with high-drama, a great love story and when done right, relatable and passionate characters. Bizet’s opera returns under the choreography of the Antonio Gadès Company. José Cura will sing Don José — a naïve soldier who loses his heart to the capricious gipsy, Carmen, sung by charismatic mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova. Anita Hartig performs as the gentle Micaela and George Petean plays the glamorous toreador Escamillo. We are recommending this for its wonderful music, great storytelling and relatable, complex characters.
This performance looks promising. If you have presented more than 160 shows, then you might be doing something right to keep attracting people to come. Mughal-e-Azam is said to be the biggest theatre production to hit the stages of India, winning three Broadway World India Awards. With music by Piyush Kathenojia, we are intrigued by its costumes, sets, lighting, and video effects ROHM claims to be truly amazing. Mughal-e-Azam tells the fabled tale of Prince Salim who, against the will of his father, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, declares his love for a dancer said to be ‘beautiful as blossom’. When the Emperor responds by imprisoning his beloved, Salim dares to lead a rebellion against his mighty imperial father. Stage direction is by Feroz Abbas Khan and choreography by Mayuri Upadhya. (Performances will be on October 11 and 12 at 7 pm.)
Opera by Gaetano Donizetti
Performed by Opera Royal de Wallonie
A stunning period costume, Anna Bolena takes us deep into the complex life of ambitious and compelling young woman Anne Boleyn who rose to the highest rank in England only to lose her life when she failed to give Henry VIII a male heir to the throne. Acclaimed soprano, Olga Peretyatko sings the title role, with Maxim Mironov as Lord Percy and Erwin Schrott as Henry VII. This ROHM new coproduction features world-class singers, stage direction by Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera, and Giampaolo Bisanti conducting the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. (Performances will be on November 28 and 30 at 7 pm.)
(THE MAGIC FLUTE)
Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Directed by Davide Livermore
The title is a mouthful to say but The Magic Flute is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. Held at the House of Musical Arts, the production brings to the stage connections between the cultural heritage of the Sultanate and Arab traditions with the universal themes in Die Zauberflöte. Albina Shagimuratova is the Queen of the Night, Antonio Poli plays Tamino, and Markus Werba is Papageno. We are recommending you to watch this as it would be interesting to see how ROHM bridge two worlds that are very different from each other through this production. (Performances will be on January 2, 3 and 4 at 7 pm.)
Traditional celebrations of Omanis in the country always involve drums. It’s a big part of folk performances and this is definitely something the Omanis have in common with this performance. Kodo is described as an exciting and spectacular Japanese traditional taiko drumming concert which will make the audience experience the height of this vibrant, living art form. “Kodo basically means ‘heartbeat’, the primal source of all rhythm,” according to ROHM. In the past thirty-five years, Kodo has given over 5,800 performances in forty-eight countries on five continents. Forging new frontiers in drumming, Kodo’s 2019 One Earth Tour: Evolution was frequently sold out in North America, as it was across Europe in 2018. It’s the first performance in Oman and might be a once in a lifetime chance to see something of this scale. (Performances will be on February 13 and 14 at 7 pm.)
PHOENICIA FROM PAST TO PRESENT
Caracalla Dance Theatre
The premise of this show and the teaser photos and choreography look promising. Performed by Caracalla Dance Company, Phoenicia From Past to Present begins as Ramses II and his royal delegation arrive at the temple of the Gods in Byblos as splendid ritual celebrations are danced in his honour. Then the drama travels in time and space to a Lebanese village where a climate of destruction and hatred is erupting. Above and beyond it all shines the love of a courageous young man and his beautiful lady. This transcendent love turns hatred into understanding, peace and brotherhood. (Performances will be on April 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm.)