Royal Opera House in Muscat embraces legacy of world culture
The Royal Opera House embodies the rich culture and heritage of the Sultanate and will immensely benefit not only Omanis but mankind as a whole. Inaugurated by Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on Wednesday 13th of October, in the presence of a large number of dignitaries from the region, who came especially for the grand occasion, it’s certainly a dream come true for all citizens. And it’s no doubt a source of great pride for them. Above all, extremely significant is the opening of the Royal Opera House just before Muscat becomes the Capital of Arab Tourism 2012.
The aims of the Sultan with the opening of the Royal Opera House are manifold. First and foremost, he desires that it should be the meeting point of the world’s diverse cultures. In this context, the significance at the opening ceremony of the performance of three operas by Opera Turandot, ‘The Power of Love’, directed by Franco Zefferelli and led by maestro Giacomo Puccini, should not be lost. This shows that the Sultan wants Omanis to see, understand and appreciate cultures from other shores.
In his speech at the inauguration, the Sultan said that Oman had played a memorable role in the development of various cultures and civilisations. This is true as Oman, even in the distant past, had played a role in promoting and protecting different cultures and civilisations while ensuring that its own culture and traditions remained unadulterated as far as possible. But then, there is bound to be some external influence but it has been positive and has been of great benefit.
Every country has its own culture. And all of them are diverse. The Royal Opera House aims to be a double-tiered bridge that will connect Omani culture with other cultures. At the same time, other cultures will be linked with each other. Such kind of cultural exchanges will help a lot in bridging the vast gulf that separates many nations. In the process, understanding and peace will be promoted, leading to greater global cooperation that is a must in these times when it seems like the world is sometimes sitting on the edge of an abyss.
That Omani culture is rich and old is not in any doubt and this is evident in many areas. Omanis in general are interested in cultural activities. These truths have been appreciated throughout the entire region. And the focus of the government has been to disseminate the salient characteristics of Omani culture. A conduit for this purpose is tourism, which is on the rise. The Royal Opera House will be another channel to ensure that foreigners know more about Omani culture and Omanis learn more about other cultures.
The First Royal Band for Music and the Arts was established in Muscat, followed by the Second Royal Band in Salalah. This, in turn, was followed by the formation of the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, also based in Muscat, with the intention of encouraging a first generation of Omani citizens to embrace and perform classical symphonic music.
This progressive development entered a new stage with the decision to establish an opera house. To initiate the required steps, the Sultan initiated the formation of a higher committee of senior officials. This committee was entrusted with providing the vision and expertise to examine and present the choices available for the design and construction of an opera house in the Sultanate.
From those early steps in the project, we now stand with the Opera House complete before us. Aimed at hosting a wide variety of major events, including opera, concerts and drama, as well as large and small gatherings, the Opera House has been designed as a highly flexible, multi-purpose building.
According to Sultan Qaboos, the significance of this Monument lies in its role in promoting universal ideas of peaceful coexistence and mutual cultural experience:
“We have no doubt that Royal Opera House Muscat will contribute to the expansion of World Heritage in its noble ideas of peace, harmony and understanding among people, as they share meaningful and deeply felt cultural legacies through the performing arts”.