The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) is pleased to announce the forthcoming season, 2017-2018: A Legendary Season. After marking its Sixth Anniversary on the 12th of October 2017, the Royal Opera House Muscat will commence its seventh season with a wide range of top quality productions in many different genres – opera, concerts, ballet & dance, Arab performances, jazz, world music, family & education, musicals & shows and special events. This rich diversity of top-notch programs has become a hallmark of the Royal Opera House Muscat that is recognised all over the world.
The new Season will open on September 14th, 2017 with Giuseppe Verdi’s grand masterpiece, Aida, set in ancient Egypt and brilliantly performed by world-class artists in an excellent production by Teatro Regio Torino.
More Stunning Operas, including a ROHM Co-Production
There are two more great romantic tragedies, which, like Aida, take us into the deeper realms of human passion. Staged by the world-famous stage director Franco Zeffirelli and performed by Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s late nineteen-century
opera, Pagliacci is based on a real-life story about a clown who makes people laugh while his own life falls apart. ROHM’s presentation of Norma, Vincenzo Bellini’s magnificent belcanto masterpiece relating the tale of a Druid priestess and her ill-fated love for a Roman conqueror, will be a very special event as the opera is coproduced by the Royal Opera House Muscat and Opéra de Rouen. This represents another important milestone as ROHM continues its historic journey along a transformational path in becoming a theater that creates its own productions, as well as hosting productions from abroad.
ROHM’s balanced opera programming also includes two delightful, heart-warming operas that give us incredible joy and insight – Gioachino Rossini’s L’Occasione fa il Ladro (Opportunity Makes a Thief), a delightfully funny, beautifully sung story of identity theft and mixed-up rival lovers; and La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker), Bellini’s enchanting belcanto opera about a beautiful young orphan who almost loses her beloved fiancé when she sleepwalks into the wrong room. L’Occasione fa il Ladro is masterfully performed by the Rossini Opera Festival, while Fondazione Arena di Verona will give a brilliant performance of La Sonnambula.
The year 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the greatest singers of all time – the truly legendary Luciano Pavarotti. ROHM pays tribute to him in Homage to Luciano Pavarotti, a gala concert as well as an exhibition of treasured Pavarotti memorabilia – running from 14th December 2017 to 6th January 2018. The gala concert features four amazing singers who are in demand on the world’s best stages – Fiorenza Cedolins, Sumi Jo, Marcello Giordani and Francesco Meli. This is sure to be an unforgettable, soul-soaring concert.
ROHM’s 2017-18 galaxy of opera stars also includes luminaries such as Roberto Alagna, one of the most celebrated tenors in the world in a special gala concert with renowned soprano, Aleksandra Kurzak in addition to another concert by the universally acclaimed tenor, Marcelo Álvarez.
The roster of superstars includes none other than Sir Cliff Richard, the rock legend who has sold more than 250 million records worldwide over the past five decades. The fabulous 2017-18 schedule also features Dianne Reeves, a living jazz legend who has won more than five Grammy Award and has been hailed by The New York Times as “the most admired jazz diva since Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday”.
Another legendary star is Gilberto Gil, known as “The Soul of Brazil”, a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer, guitarist and a songwriter. Gilberto is known for his intelligently innovative music, deep musicality and quiet charisma. Platinum award-winning singer and songwriter, Ann Hampton Callaway will sing some of Barbra Streisand’s timeless classics.
Great Arab Performances
Among the many highlights in ROHM’s 2017-2018 series of nine Omani and Arab performances are the annual Omani Women’s Day Celebration, featuring talented Yemeni singer, Balqees and ROHM’s greatly loved Military Music: Oman and the World with hundreds of musicians marching in dress uniform on the Maidan. The Oman Royal Symphony Orchestra Ladies Ensemble and musicians from the Oman Oud Hobbyists Association will play at the Women’s Day Celebration; and the military music event will put the spotlight on two guest military bands from Asia and Europe.
Arab concerts will feature contemporary legends like Sami Yusuf, named by The Guardian as “the biggest British star in the Middle East”. Other Arab superstars include the singer, oud player and composer, Lotfi Bushnak who will perform with the acclaimed Egyptian singer, Mohammed Tharwat in a concert enriched by the beautiful voices of Retaj, a choir of young Omanis devoted to Inshad.
Rising Omani star, Salah Al Zadjali will sing well-loved songs that will make joyous, intimate connections with the audience. On the same programme, Egyptian singer Medhat Saleh will perform his popular romantic songs, as well as songs from the legendary Abdel Halim Hafez such as Ahwak, At Taubah and others.
The singer and composer Majid El Mohandes, currently one of the greatest names in the Arab music community, will perform songs from his hit albums, such as Ouzkourini and Waheshni Moot. An evening of traditional Arab songs features Ali Al Haggar, specialising in Maqam and traditional rhythms and Jahida Wehbe, a very famous Lebanese singer with a powerful voice that captures the hearts of listeners.
Rising star, Badr Rami, a Moroccan-born Syrian artist versed in both classical and contemporary Arab music, is featured in an evening of Muwashahat and Kudud Halabiya, poetic forms of music originating in Aleppo and Andalusia.
The last production in ROHM’s Arab series, a spectacular musical play by Rahbani Production, On the Land of Gypsies, has the honour of bringing the 2017-18 Season to a close.
A Special Show
Each Season at the Royal Opera House we take our audiences around the world; and, for the first time, we stop in Vietnam to bring to ROHM an imaginative production called À Ố Show which enacts the graceful beauty for which Vietnam is known, in portraits that capture the richness of Vietnam’s culture, past and present. With evocative sets, the show is rendered in a beautiful blend of genres with theatre, dance, acrobatics, bamboo cirque and live Vietnamese music.
Ballet, Dance – and a Musical
The first ballet of the season is perhaps the greatest ballet of all time – Swan Lake, the compelling story of a swan swimming on a lake of tears, a swan that at dusk turns into the most beautiful woman a Prince has ever seen. Swan Lake will be performed in the gorgeous classical style by Kazakhstan’s prestigious State Opera and Ballet Theatre “Astana Opera” and the world-class Orchestra of Teatro Carlo Felice of Genova. It’s a magnificent, romantic production with beautiful period costumes created by the Academy-Award-winning, Tony-nominated costume designer, Franca Squarciapino and atmospheric sets by the distinguished Italian designer, Ezio Frigerio.
In an unusual show with the intriguing title, Pas de Deux for Fingers and Toes, music and movement come together in a supreme expression of beauty by Vadim Repin, the man whom Yehudi Menuhin called the “best and most perfect violinist” and Svetlana Zakharova, the woman who became prima ballerina of the Bolshoi and a shining Étoile of Teatro alla Scala. Together they create an ethereal pas de deux in magical realms evocative of dreams.
This season ROHM is venturing to into avant-garde ballet with a new take on Cinderella with brilliant choreography by Maguy Marin. Performed by Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, the production is set in a doll’s house with costumes to suit. Sergei Prokofiev’s amazing music is played by the superb PKF- Prague Philharmonia.
ROHM returns to Tango with a thrilling show called Recital CanTANGO. One of the world’s favourite dances, the stunningly stylish and romantic Argentinian tango is danced and its story is recited in song with the extraordinary participation of tenor Fabio Armiliato.
ROHM’s 2017-18 dance programme is completed by an evening of traditional dances from around the world by one today’s greatest traditional dance companies, – the Russian Igor Moiseyev Ballet which is renowned for technical brilliance and exuberant virtuosity.
The musical for ROHM’s Legendary Season is Peter Pan in an award-winning new production for people of all ages. It’s action-packed and exciting, with all the beloved characters – Tinkerbell, Wendy and Captain Hook. Peter Pan will fly in the air with ease.
One of the special highlights of the concert programme is ROHM’s annual Pipe Organ Concert, which in the new season will feature the famous British organist, pianist and conductor, Wayne Marshall playing ROHM’s magnificent organ and also conducting the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.
In two fabulous concerts the astoundingly virtuoso Russian violinist, Sergej Krylov will play with the prestigious Russian National Orchestra conducted by conducted by Pier Carlo Orizio. Audiences will hear beautiful, breath-taking music by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravel.
The tremendously popular, world-famous Alexandrov Red Army Chorus will perform with an impressive cast of robust male singers. And, as an added attraction, the Red Army dance troupes will bring spectacular acrobatic action to the concert.
Special Events for Children and Families
The Royal Opera house Muscat is pleased to announce another totally wonderful interactive production for children – The Moth Princess, a delightful participative opera based on Puccini’s great masterpiece, Turandot. Children will sing in Italian, Arabic and English and propel the action with their own handmade props.They will be thrilled when the Moth Princess emerges as a butterfly.
Also specially designed for children is a delightful new presentation of Peter and the Wolf, featuring a shadow puppet show with arias about animals and a screening of Peter & The Wolf LIVE, an animation that won an Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film, accompanied by the Orchestra of Opéra de Rouen playing Prokofiev’s brilliant score.
There will also be three special matinées – Swan Lake in all its ethereal beauty, the innovative opera Cinderella with its dollhouse setting, and a charming production called À Ố Show that enacts the graceful beauty for which Vietnam is known.
ROHM’s Popular Education & Outreach Events
ROHM’s successful new Coffee & Dates with Artists series will continue in conversations with eight stars from ROHM’s Legendary Season, including Cliff Richard. The ever-more-popular Pre-Performance Talks will present nine sessions offering lively discussions and illuminating insights. There will be four Open House events including: the Pavarotti exhibition; “Animal World”, an event related to the Peter and the Wolf; a Tango class; and “Clown for a Day”, an event that is bound to be a lot of fun! ROHM’s 2017-2018 Open Houses are freshly designed to be entertaining and educational experiences that include workshops on music and art specially made for children, teenagers and families. ROHM introduces Lunch Music, a new series of delightful concerts at lunchtime, to enjoy popular operatic arias resounding in the luxurious Galleria: the concerts will feature the artists involved in the productions and will prepare the audience to the operas.
The Royal Opera House Muscat will again recruit Extras to appear on stage for ROHM’s coproduction of the opera Norma and other large-scale performances – to be announced in the press, on ROHM’s social media and on the ROHM website www.rohmuscat.org.om
Messages from the Royal Opera House Muscat
His Highness Sayyid Kamil Fahad Al Said, Member of the ROHM Board commented:
“In anticipating a wonderful program for the seventh year of the Royal Opera House Muscat, with 35 outstanding new programs and 55 performances, we unveil an inspiring theme for the 2017 – 2018 season: A Legendary Season. Not only does our new season offer an abundance of performers with legendary reputations, but also it is set to further brand the Royal Opera House as a legendary place where the dreams of civilisations are realised.
Our diverse programming spans cultures across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, opening a myriad of windows on the world, while inviting the world to discover Oman’s distinctive cultural traditions, its talent and its contemporary achievements.”
ROHM Director-General, Umberto Fanni commented:
“Among several important points of interest about ROHM’s new season is that, in presenting another new coproduction, this time of Bellini’s Norma with Opéra de Rouen,The Royal Opera House Muscat is continuing on the path of transformation from a predominantly hosting institution to a theatre that also creates its own productions in-house. I am also extremely pleased with the number and quality of performers who are featured across different genres in both Western and Arab programmes and who inspired us to call 2017-2018 “A Legendary Season”.