40 YEARS -
By Maurice Gent -
maurice.gent@ omanobserver.om -
The Royal Opera House (ROH)Muscat opens it’s doors this week both to assembled dignitaries and on Friday to the general public, who have been fortunate enough to get tickets. The work of many people over many years will start to bear fruit in what is a longterm national investment both in artistic, cultural and economic terms.
The programme for the first season is outstanding. The ROH will host dancers, singers and musicians of international quality, further establishing the Sultanate of Oman as a nation which treasures all cultural traditions. The renowned Diva Riham Abdul Hakim will celebrate the legacy of Umm Kulthum, Magida El Roumi will give her own solo concert and the Universal Ballet of Korea will perform Shim Chung — the Blindman’s Daughter.
So the ROH is clearly embarked on a programme, which is inclusive of all cultures, and this is vital. In one sense the ROH is an arm of foreign policy as well as cultural policy, making it clear in a graphic way that Oman is a nation which appreciates both Arab and international culture.
It is the kind of investment, which will in the long run pay for itself economically and in terms of contributing to the international reputation of the nation.
The Sultanate of Oman can think in the longterm at all levels because it has enjoyed continuity for over 40 years under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The ROH is very much a product of a policy which indeed looks to the long term, whether it be the Vision 2020 plan, which has established economic priorities, or the establishment of guidelines, which have resulted in high standards in the environment, road building and in tourism development.
The ROH Muscat is much more than an Opera House, where residents and tourists can enjoy fine music and dance in elegant surroundings.
It is very much an ambassador for Oman and a very important one indeed. It’s particular strength is that it will change minds and opinions throughout the world.
As the reputation of ROH Muscat spreads worldwide it will then without doubt enhance the global reputation of the Sultanate of Oman in terms of international esteem, attracting visitors of high net worth.
However when business people, architects and heads of Universities and academic institutions visit the Sultanate they will undoubtedly see Oman as a country, which deserves further exploration in terms of both cultural and business needs. A visit to the Opera House will become a must.