Muscat Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House in Muscat (دار الأوبرا السلطانية) was the first Opera to be built on the Arabian Peninsula. Sultan Qaboos of Oman is a big opera lover, and the Auditorium he built to introduce the Omani nation to Opera is indeed magnificently Royal.
Muscat Opera is one of the most beautiful buildings, not only in Muscat but in the Middle East. It is the perfect synthesis of modern design with Arabic ornament, creating a majestic building inside and out.
Location of the Royal Opera
The Royal Opera House is in the town centre near Shatti Al Qurum facing Sultan Qaboos Highway across ornamental gardens, and close to the Intercontinental Hotel – great plays to stay if you visiting Muscat. It is within walking distance from the beach, though no-one except mad dogs and Englishmen would think of making this trip on foot in the Summer. Integrated with the Opera House is the recently extended Opera Galleria mall, home to exclusive shops and upmarket cafes and restaurants. The Galleria is open during the day, or you can dine there in the evening before or after performances.
Shows in The Royal Opera House Muscat
The new season of the Royal Opera starts every September and runs through to June. Tickets are available to buy from the moment new shows are announced (generally in June for the season beginning in September). You can purchase individual or season tickets in the Box Office or online and then pick them up before the performance, or you can print them yourself.
The Royal Opera does not have a resident company, so it hosts international shows from all over the world. These include not only Opera but concerts as well, for example past features have included the Buena Vista Social Club and Diana Krall.
Visit Opera in Muscat
The Royal Opera is open to the public every day. Even if you don’t have a ticket, you can come inside the hall to the box office and admire the interior. Approximately twice a year the OPera House organises an Open Day when you can take a guided tour over the whole building including the stage for free. We visited Opera on one of these days and enjoyed the tour as well as testing the chairs the royal box.
Other events held in the Royal Opera House in Muscat
Muscat Opera also organizes a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops and a range of activities. When we lived in Muscat, we joined a family workshop, including drumming, storytelling, and more. Such events are generally held on Saturdays and make for great family time. If you want to learn more about them, go to the Opera website and sign up for the newsletter to get advance notifications.
Royal Opera House in Muscat Dress Code
Dress code is strict – no skirts above the knee or open shoulders for women, no shorts, unbutton shirts, or tennis shoes for men. If a woman arrives for an event in unsuitable clothes, she will be given an abaya to cover herself. This has happened to some of my friends. I don’t know what would happen if a man turned up in non-compliant clothing.
Muscat Royal Opera House etiquette
You should arrive a minimum 20 minutes before the show. There is a car park and if driving yourself, then allow another 30 minutes to park the car. There is plenty of space, but as everyone arrives at the same time, then traffic on entry to the car park can be slow.
If you are late for the show, you won’t be allowed to enter the theatre, though you may be able to watch the show in a special room behind the screen. You will be able to enter your seat during the intermission.
Technology in the Royal Opera House
Each seat in the Opera has a touch screen on which you can see the translation of the libretto to the language of your choice (English or Arabic)
The auditorium has 1,100 seats. However, and by the press of a button, it can change into an 850-seat shoebox-style concert hall. A 500-ton orchestra shell tracks downstage from the back of the house and fits seamlessly with the auditorium walls. The proscenium arch lifts away, the orchestra pit rises, and the front two rows of seats lower into the floor, all engineered by automated systems.
To book tickets or check the show in the Royal Opera House Muscat, visit their official website here.
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