Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Royal Opera House Muscat unveils 2019-2020 performances season

The performance venue in the Omani capital will be home to a series of lavish ballets and operas, in addition to concerts international and regional music stars

Japan's Kodo Drummers will bring their exciting show to the Royal Muscat Opera House. Courtesy of Royal Muscat Opera House
Japan's Kodo Drummers will bring their exciting show to the Royal Muscat Opera House. Courtesy of Royal Muscat Opera House

Jazz legend Chick Corea, Arab pop star Najwa Karam and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre are all heading to Oman as part of the new performance season by the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM).

The stunning venue, in the Omani capital, unveiled its 2019-2020 program which includes eclectic concerts, ballets and operas, in addition to a world premiere of a new production.

The first curtain raiser will begin on September 11 and concludes on April 21, 2020.

Here are key highlights from the programme.

Opening night: Carmen

A production of Bizet's Carmen will open the new season of the Royal Opera House Muscat. Picture courtesy of Royal Opera House Muscat.
A production of Bizet's Carmen will open the new season of the Royal Opera House Muscat. Picture courtesy of Royal Opera House Muscat.

After wowing audiences with sold out shows in the opera house’s inaugural season in 2011, this lavish production of Bizet’s opera will return on September 11 with new choreography by Madrid’s Antonio Gades Company. Opera fans will rejoice with news that Jose Cura will lead the cast as Don Jose, the soldier who falls in love with the manipulative Carmen. The Argentine tenor is a major international draw and performed Carmen in New York's The Met in 2013. His far-reaching career also found him taking on other signature tenor roles such as Othello, Tosca's Cavaradossi and Canio in Pagliacci.

The operas: The Magic Flute

In addition to Carmen, the new season also includes four other operatic productions.

The ROHM will also host its own production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute from January 2 to 4. Staged by Davide Livermore, the production will see the story will take on a regional flavour with the setting moved from 18th century Europe to Oman.

From October 31 to November 2, the Bolshoi Theatre will take on the famous Russian opera The Story of Kai and Gerda by Sergei Banevich. The ROHM will also co-produce two other productions. The first being Puccini’s much loved La Boehme (October 3 and 5), a collaboration with Opera de Montela Carlo. This will be followed by Donizetti’s Anna Bolena (November 28 and 30), a partnership with Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Opéra Lausanne and Abao Olbe Bilbao.

The ballets: Onegin by The Bolshoi Theatre

This season has two ballet productions by Tchaikovsky.

From January 23 to 25, The Bolshoi Theatre will take on Onegin, one of the most celebrated works by the Russian composer.

A family-friendly affair will be on offer when The National Ballet of China presents The Nutcracker from April 9 to 11. The production will be marked by its fusion of Chinese and western cultural traditions.

World music: Jazz legend Chick Corea

Kathak dancers perform as part of Mughal e Azam the Musical. Courtesy Feroz Abbas Khan 
Kathak dancers perform as part of Mughal e Azam the Musical. Courtesy Feroz Abbas Khan 

An intriguing array of international music concerts are on offer. Regional jazz aficionados will undoubtedly flock to Muscat to see Chick Corea. The American composer and pianist will make his Middle Eastern concert debut with two gigs at the opera house on April 12 and 13.

Bollywood splendour is also on the cards with Mughal-e-Azam. The lavish musical, set during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar, has been an international touring sensation. The Omani date, on October 11 and 12, follows a sold out show at Dubai Opera in January.

Athleticism and musicality will thrillingly converge with Japan’s Kodo Drummers. The shows, on February 13 and 14, will feature musicians creating waves of rhythm through their use of both enormous stationary drums and smaller portable percussion sets.

More rhythmic flair will be showcased with Che Malambo on December 19 and 20. The Argentinian dance spectacular will be full of the electrifying footwork that characterises Zapateoa, a dance form rooted in both Spanish Flamenco and European gypsy culture.

The regional sounds: Emirati pop star Ahlam and Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife

The ROHM presents another strong selection of Arab musical performances that melds both the popular with the more esoteric.

When it comes to the former, the biggest name on the bill is Najwa Karam. The Lebanese diva will perform on November 14 and 15. She will be joined by Emirati star Ahlam (December 6 and 7) and Moroccan songstress Samira Said (October 18).

Also on the cards is Marcel Khalife, the revered Lebanese composer and oud virtuoso will take the stage on September 25 to play selections from his four-decade body of work.

For details on all the performances and ticketing for the Royal Opera House Muscat’s 2019-2020 season go to www.rohmuscat.org.om

Updated: June 18, 2019 03:51 PM

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