Royal Opera House Muscat isn’t only the most important music and performing arts centre in Oman. It’s one of the most important places of that kind in the Middle East. List of artists performed there is absolutely impressive. Together with its stunning architecture it’s a place that shouldn’t be missed in Oman.
I was very lucky to attend both one of the concerts and to join one of the guided tours around the building during the week I’ve spent in Oman.
Royal Opera House Muscat
Royal Opera House is, like many in Muscat, quite a young building. As a true admirer of art and music, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said initiated its construction in 2001. After ten years of designing and building the Opera House opened its doors in 2011.
Royal Opera House is located in Shati Al-Qurm district in Muscat. Stunning marble building can be spotted easily from one of the main city roads, the Sultan Qaboos Street.
White elegant exterior
Like many important buildings in Muscat, Royal Opera House was built of a white, mostly marble stone. When I’m thinking of Oman’s capital, I remember an elegant combination of white buildings and a clear blue sky. That white colour in combination with graceful arches and geometrical carved stone makes these buildings almost look like they’re floating. Nearly like they’re not from this world.
The other thing I liked there so much, was a beautiful garden with all the different colourful flowers. Because of a dry soil and a water shortage, flowers are even more precious in the Middle East. And if the building there is surrounded with flowers, it made it even more special in my eyes.
With a pleasant interior
If I thought building from the outside was beautiful, then interior amazed me even more. Combination of Islamic, Oriental and European influences is visible in a choice of material and decoration. The building had a solemn feel once I was in the inside.
Royal Opera House is organising short 20 minute tours around the building. They are great to learn about its history, influences and symbolism of decorative details incorporated in the building. I especially liked the collection of rare and special instruments they have. The costumes worn by some famous artists or things that belonged to them were also very interesting! My favourite were Luciano Pavarotti’s letters and agenda.
Royal Opera House’s theatre is a piece of art itself. But not only art. It has some amazing technology incorporated in it, as well. Moveable stage and parts of auditorium were just impressive. Before the show Marijan and I were wondering what that little screens on the back of the chairs were. And I was more then surprised* when I learned they are used for the subtitles.
* I’m a bit embarrassed to write this, but I though it was to worn people in case they are too laud during the show. Well, yes, I had some bad experiences in a past (and yes, I was the one warned of laughing too laud while watching the comedy play in a theatre).
Sami Yusuf Concert
Whenever I’m travelling I’m always trying to soak up as much of the local culture as I can. That’s why I love street art, talk with local people, but also to listen the music from that area.
I didn’t know much about Sami Yusuf before I came to his performance, but I knew he’s considered to be the ‘Rock star of the Middle East’ (well, that’s what I read on Wikipedia). His concert was devoted to peace and he sang the old traditional songs about peace from Andalusia to India. Listening old Middle Eastern languages, songs and instruments was the experience I’ll never forget.
Here is a You Tube video of one of the songs he performed at the concert as well:
I had a wonderful time at the Royal Opera House Muscat. It was great to see such an amazing architecture. But, also to listen the music from the area. And to learn in that way more about the culture of Oman and Middle East. I’m definitely going to attend the show there again on my next trip to Oman.
Would you like to visit Royal Opera House Muscat? Here is a link to their program & tickets.
* Many thanks to Royal Opera House Muscat for a inviting me to be their guest at Sami Yusuf concert. It was a wonderful experience I’ll never forget! However, as always, all opinions are my own.