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House of Musicals

Grand opera house coming up in Oman

Aftab H. Kola, eTN  Mar 24, 2010

Muscat will soon find a place on the world’s musical scene. The Royal Opera House coming up in Muscat under the Royal Estates - Royal Court Affairs, government of Oman - is being built with a theme reflecting contemporary Omani architecture, with a capacity to accommodate a maximum of 1,100 people. It will be slated for opening in the last part of 2010.

The Royal Opera House (earlier named House of Musicals) is a daring and visionary project initiated by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, ruler of Sultanate of Oman. It will bring together multiple strands of creativity and innovation in both architectural form and structural design.

According to Hamid Bin Abdulla Al Ghazali, project director of the Royal Opera House, The Royal Estates-Royal Court Affairs asserted that the opera house will be a cultural landmark in the entire GCC as this will be the first one in the region. He added, "The Royal Opera House has attracted keen interest in the opera circles, and even before the completion we are flooded with international enquiries for a tie-up with world’s leading opera houses and cultural centers."

A select group of international design consultants were invited by the Royal Court Affairs of Oman to compete for the design of the project in 2003, and after a number of competitive stages, WATG won the international design competition and were invited to lead the team for the design and supervision services, while the design of stage engineering, theatre equipments, sound and light was by TPC-UK.

The prominent external facade features will be cladded with Omani desert rose stone, while the interior decor will be unique with a touch of traditional Arabic design. The stage will be extremely flexible, able to accommodate theatre, symphony concerts, recitals, and chamber music, as well as fully-staged productions of opera, dance, musicals, and other aspects of more popular entertainment.

The three-tiered auditorium will be fully equipped to provide an ideal acoustic and theatrical environment for all types of musical performances. An interesting feature will be that the stage will be fully convertible based on the requirements, whether it is for theatre or concert needs. Another unique feature of the theatre stage will be a 32-meter-high fly tower facilitating theatrical wizardry during performances. The artistically-designed monument will serve as a world-class performing arts center with excellent acoustic effect so that the fine nuances of jazz or strains of classical tracks or plays can be heard at the highest fidelity.

Embracing an area of 80,000 sqm out of which 50 percent will be used for landscaping with elegant gardens, the work on the Royal Opera House is going on full steam with on an average 1,200 people sweating out to meet the deadline. The cultural icon will incorporate another fascinating element - a commercial souq (market area) will be a part of the edifice. The commercial souq, divided into three segments and will have five-star restaurants, coffee shops, high-end boutiques, lifestyle retail outlets, and an art exhibition gallery.

Grand opera house coming up in Oman
Royal Opera House under construction / Photo by Aftab H. Kola, eTN

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