Oman


Musical symphony fiesta at Royal Opera House Muscat


Ute Lemper is on the ROHM programme agenda for the forthcoming season.– Supplied photos

Muscat: Ranging from opera stars to violinists and world-class orchestras, the upcoming season at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) features a variety of classical music concerts and recitals.

There will be 10 concerts with orchestras and other ensembles, solo vocalists, and solo instrumentals to choose from, covering a wide variety. Whether one is interested in Baroque opera arias, organ music or tango, the concert series offers something for everyone, says the ROHM's Director General, Christina Scheppelmann.

"I'm very excited about the concerts actually, because we have fabulous singers," she said before mentioning some of the highlights.

Some of the big names from the opera world will be introduced to Muscat for the first time this year, including American diva Joyce Di Donato and Polish tenor Piotr Beczala. Di Donato, who has performed with all the major American opera companies as well as a number of important European companies, is known for her interpretations of Baroque opera roles.

Joyce Di Donato


Her concert, with a programme themed 'Drama Queens,' isn't until May 1 but according to Scheppelmann, it's worth waiting for.

"Joyce Di Donato is the greatest mezzo-soprano today. She's got a great personality and she's a wonderful person and singer," she said.

Beczala, whose voice has been described as "golden" by some critics, will be accompanied by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on March 26, 2015. His concert will focus on 19th century opera with works by composers including Verdi, Strauss, and Dvorak.

"Piotr Beczala has a wonderful voice and he's elegant and handsome also. He's a wonderful performer and artist, and one of the top tenors today," Scheppelmann commented.

Two other singers who will make their Muscat debuts are Uruguay's Erwin Schrott and Germany's Ute Lemper.

Though they may not be well-known in Oman, Erwin is renowned in the opera world while Ute Lemper is famous in Europe and the USA for her work in musicals including Cats and Chicago. Their concerts, set two weeks apart, will both focus on tango, a genre they both love.

Scheppelmann said Schrott sang this tango in Salzburg, Austria, to great acclaim, while Lemper, who is a fantastic cabaret, musical, and chanson singer will give a very different interpretation of music by the same composer, Astor Piazzolla. "It's good to introduce them this year. Obviously those are new names to Muscat and they should be because after three years, most are still new. That's the exciting part, because we can and try to introduce new names of the highest quality," she noted.

For classical music fans who prefer instrumental music, the highlights will include two concerts on March 28 and 29 next year with one of the world's best conductors, Italy's award-winning maestro Riccardo Muti, paired with Grammy winning violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter from Germany. They will perform music by Rossini, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

"It's a wonderful occasion for anyone who enjoys symphonic music because they will get
the best of the best," said Scheppelmann.

On October 30, a concert starring Latvian violinist and conductor Gidon Kramer and his ensemble Kremerata Baltica will take listeners on a musical journey exploring the four seasons. It will include parts of the most famous Four Seasons, composed by Vivaldi, but will also feature music on the same theme by other composers like Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla.

Gidon Kramer


"You should come to this concert because it will introduce you to the Four Seasons in many musical versions and styles. I think it's going to be interesting to hear the contrast between Vivaldi, Glass and other composers in between treating the theme of the four seasons," said Scheppelmann.

For information about these concerts, as well as others including a return to Muscat by legendary violinist Joshua Bell, a Czech-themed night of music with the Prague Philharmonia, the annual pipe organ concert, and a gala concert featuring hits from both Broadway and opera, visit www.rohmuscat.org.om.

Joshua Bell


To get in touch with the reporter sarah@timesofoman.com

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I am fan of Ute Lemper but why not tell us when she will perform? She is not in the ROH on-line programme either.

Dumbing-down the season with Broadway on ice and other pop items are not worthy of a serious Opera House.