Bringing international culture into the heart of Oman, the Royal Opera House is a palatial contemporary arts venue flanked by landscaped gardens and retail outlets. Opera, symphony, ballet and jazz fans alike will be delighted by their program of events for 2019.
History and vision
Sultan Qaboos of Oman has long been known as a music aficionado, masterminding both a world-class classical music orchestra and the 'Oman Classic' public radio station. The Opera House, only the second building of its kind in the Arab world, was designed to create a center for international arts and culture in Oman. The initial idea of a national house for musical arts was conceived in 2001 and drawn up in line with the Sultan’s vision by Theater Projects Consultants. World-class architecture firm Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo turned these concepts into an exciting reality, and the finished venue opened in 2011.
The architecture of the Royal Opera House is distinct both inside and out, with an exterior of locally-sourced pink limestone with subtle stucco. Originally conceived as a traditional 16thcentury Italian opera house, the building plans were given an update to reflect elements of contemporary Omani style. Visitors stroll across a grand piazza lined with palm trees, passing beneath soaring archways to enter the building.
Part of what makes this venue unique is the use of technology to maximize performances. There’s a moveable acoustic shell that can be adjusted inside the stage area to make sure that the sound is crystal clear throughout the auditorium. The audience also benefits from touchscreens located on the backs of seats, allowing them to select subtitles in several different languages.
Notable past performances
The Royal Opera House is located in the Shati Al-Qurm District, about a ten-minute drive away from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat. In the four years it's been open, it has already hosted world class performers including famed Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo, who performed on the opening night, Andrea Bocelli and cellist Yo Yo Ma. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis brought a taste of the Big Apple to Oman in his performances with the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra, while other guests have been treated to touring dance companies including the Mariinsky Ballet, who brought the iconic Swan Lake to the House in its opening season.
Like all European opera houses, the program of events here carefully balances classic and contemporary music and dance. Join legendary singer and composer Marcel Khalife performing with the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra in March, take in a performance of Don Pasquale starring Ruggiero Raimondi, or book tickets for Rossini’s Cinderella in April. The Universal Ballet of Korea arrives in the same month with a performance of The Tale of Chunhyang, combining classical ballet with timeless Korean folklore. To experience New Orleans jazz in the middle of the Middle East, don't miss the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who'll be playing for one night only on 28 April.
To admire the dreamy architecture and learn more about the rich vision behind the Royal Opera House Muscat, you can also book your place on a guided tour of the building, held between 8:30 and 10:30 each morning.
If you are lucky enough to visit Muscat, soak in the positive emotions and manifold cultural experiences. For your stay choose out Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat!