Last weekend, I was incredibly fortunate to make a trip to Muscat, Oman! [Don’t worry, all you wonderful PBO donors, this trip was not financed by PBO….your contributions go directly onto our stage, and are responsible for the high artistic and production values of our performances!]
I was instead invited by the Royal Opera House of Oman to discuss possible artistic consultation and collaboration. And what an amazing trip it was!
Those of you who’ve been following this blog know that I love planes as much as I love opera. You can imagine my excitement when I realized that I would be flying once again on an Airbus A380-800, operated by Lufthansa, from Miami to Frankfurt, with a connecting flight on a A330-300 from Frankfurt via Abu Dhabi to Muscat. I’d already taken an Air France A380 from Washington to Paris with David on the occasion of his birthday a year ago, and couldn’t wait to be once again on this incredible plane. Especially in a ‘big seat’…
What a wonderful flight experience – The Lufthansa crew absolutely spoiled me!
My three days in Oman flew by, and I would like to share with you some photo impressions. All in all, it was fascinating: the Omani people I met were incredibly kind, good to each other, generous, and grateful for what they have in their lives in regard to political stability and enlightened government. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said understood from the onset of his reign in 1970 that his focus on education, culture and benevolent leadership would bear ample fruit. He shared his wealth with his people, and enabled his country to grow and take advantage of cultural and educational influences from all over the world.
Here are just some photographic impressions:
Staying at the Grand Hyatt was a treat. View from my balcony:
A shot of the grand lobby from the outside at night:
A stroll along the beach led past the German Embassy and picturesque buildings, seemingly out of an oasis from 1001 Nights:
During low tide, the beach comes an endless strip of soccer fields, on which Omani, Western, Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani youth compete against each other.
Driving around revealed a fascinating landscape, much more rocky and mountainous than I imagined:
View of Old Muscat:
Along the harbor or Muttrah, along with the famous market ‘Muttrah Souk’:
The entrance to the Old Palace of Sultan Qaboos….just imagine what the new one looks like…
On Saturday night, I was then lucky to attend a performance of LA BOHEME, presented by the Castleton Opera Festival, with Mo. Lorin Maazel on the podium and several singers with PBO connection on stage: Joyce El-Khoury, who will sing Violetta in our PBO Season Opening production of LA TRAVIATA, sang the soprano lead role of Mimi, and Jonathan Beyer (baritone, who sang Schaunard) and Brandon Cedel (bass-baritone, who sang Colline) are both Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition Winners.
Here’s a photo of the Royal Opera House of Oman (ROHM):
It is an astonishing building! The leadership of the Royal Opera House is determined to create a cultural center in Muscat, and is presenting not only opera, but also symphonic and choral concerts, ballet performances, jazz nights, military marching bands, world music, as well as Arabic and Indian music.
It was an amazing treat to experience the seed of a growing cultural center in the Islamic world!