The Royal Opera House Muscat

Within the Middle East, majestic opera houses had been centres of culture since the 19th century. When the Grand Opera House in Cairo was destroyed, a new one was rebuilt affirming the importance of culture in Egyptian society. Cultural importance has spread to the GCC with governments allocating millions of dollars to new cultural precincts or multifunctional complexes. The opera house has become a platform to showcase local talent, a source of job creation, a value factor in economic and social growth, a strong tourist attraction and a means of further enhancing the value of the area it is in built in.

In 2001 a royal decree was issued by the then leader Sultan Qaboos who envisioned a hub of culture with a view of not only introducing the best international talent to his people but to also as a means to nurture and grow local talent.

In 2007 London based architects Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo finally began construction on the massive project. In October 2011 the Royal Opera House Muscat opened to rave reviews. Against the backdrop of the Opera House’s imposing façade and rich arabesque interiors, Turandot was the opening night performance offering the promise of great things to come. Located on Sultan Qaboos Street in the Shati Al Qurm District in Muscat, the Royal Opera House boasts a concert theatre, auditorium, 40,000 m2 of pristine landscaped gardens, a cultural market, gourmet restaurants and an art centre for musical, theatrical and operatic productions. The complex itself is a nod to contemporary Omani architecture and uses traditional Omani desert rose stones. It is built on area of 80,000 m2 and offers space for 1,100 visitors.

Today the Royal Opera House Muscat offers not only the very best of internationally renowned opera but performances in Arabic, Jazz and child friendly concerts and shows. The dress code is formal with Omanis in national dress and expats in evening wear. The Royal Opera House Muscat has welcomed the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Anna Netrebko, Renee Fleming, José Carreras, Jonas Kaufmann and Placido Domingo. Musical performances by Yo Yo Ma, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Ballet Theatre, Bolschoi, The Paul Taylor Dance Company and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis with the New York City’s Jazz at the Lincoln Centre Orchestra. Arab artists have also graced the Royal Opera House with artists such as Majida El Roumi and tributes to celebrated Egyptian Singer Um Kalthoum also took place.

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