Muscat: The Royal Opera House Muscat announced a diverse season filled with more big names in music and dance as well as some returning favourites.
The ROHM's 2013-2014 season, which will begin September14 with Rossini's comic opera The Barber of Seville, will feature 81 performances by 42 different groups. With six operas, a variety of classical concerts, seven Arab concerts, four ballets, and numerous other international and local performances, the upcoming season will fulfill the ROHM's mission to provide diversity and quality while uniting people through music.
"We believe it's a special season with a variety of events. I hope you and our audience will enjoy the season," ROHM's Director General Christina Scheppelmann said at a press conference yesterday.
Some of the highlights, from internationally-acclaimed artists and companies, include Verdi's La Traviata and a concert to celebrate Verdi's 200th anniversary, Egyptian songstress Sherine, Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir, Dvorak's opera Rusalka, the National Ballet of Uruguay, Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall, Senegal's Youssou N'Dour, whose concert was rescheduled from last October, and ballet and opera versions of Romeo and Juliet.
"We made sure diversity is present. It's not just about cultures. It's about genres and styles," said Dr Issam El Mallah, Adviser to the Board for Programming and Events.
The ROHM is also bringing back some musicians who were big favourites from the past seasons. They include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Lebanese diva Magida El Roumi, the Mariinsky Ballet, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which will play for the Vienna State Opera's production of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro.
The ROHM will continue to promote Omani artists, too, with performances to celebrate Omani Women's Day and military music from Oman's Royal Guard. El Mallah noted that of the 3000 performers who will take the stage next season, 26.1 percent will be Omani.
Other Arab musicians will also be featured prominently. For a taste of the Gulf, Kuwait's Abdullah Al Ruwaishid will sing, and there will also be artists from Palestine, Tunisia and Morocco presented Sufi, Inshad, folklore and contemporary music.
"I hope I was able to whet your appetite for the Arab part," El Mallah said.
Continuing its efforts at education and outreach, the ROHM's 2013-2014 season will also include special performances for school children, Sufi and organ symposiums, collaborations with community organisations in Oman, participation in international conferences, and pre-performance talks. There will also be more interaction with higher educational institutions, said Dr Nasser Al Taee, Advisor to the Board for Education and Outreach, with internships for students so they can learn from the professionals in the performing arts world.
"It will be possible to have students to come and attend training and attend rehearsals," Al Taee said.
New next season will be daily guided tours of the ROHM each morning between 8:30 and 10:30. Sayyid Kamil bin Fahd Al Said, Member of the ROHM Board of Directors, said the tours will "extend bridges of communication with the local community and provide sufficient knowledge and background about the shows and programs," as well as making it more accessible for tourists, thus making it a national monument to attract people from all walks of life.
To make the ROHM even more accessible, especially for families, the ticket prices have also been adjusted. Family concerts will cost just 1 OMR for children and 2 OMR for adults.
Tickets for the 2013-2014 season will go on sale next week. Group and package ticket sales begin Saturday, June 1, while individual ticket sales begin Sunday, June 2.
"I think we're setting the bar very high for the next season. We are true to our mission of quality, variety, and dare I say, excitement. It is my great pleasure to invite our loyal audience to join us