Saturday, October 13, 2012

ROSO marks its night of triumph

The Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra came to the Royal Oman Opera House in what was a landmark appearance showing the great skills they have shown over many years. It was a first time appearance and in that sense an historic occasion. Not surprisingly it was a complete sell out from the plush front row stalls to the highly raked seats in the top gallery. It was also a very mixed audience with Omanis and expatriates alike celebrating the achievements of the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, (ROSO) which performed its first ever concert back in 1987 some 25 years ago, and has since become an important part of the nation’s identity.
To mark the occasion the orchestra accompanied two fine Italian opera singers of world fame, Fabio Sartori and Anna Caterina Antonacci. Making it an Italian-Omani evening. The conductor Massimo Zanetti received his musical education in Milan at the Conservatorio Guiseppe Verdi. He now has very much an international reputation, and has been guest conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Teatroalla Scala di Milano.
The really important thing about this gala occasion for the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra was that it was a performance of equals. The professionalism of performers from Italy met and worked with the equally professional Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra. The first opera offering was from Rossini’s ever popular, the Barber of Seville. First performed in Rome just after the many horrors of the Napoleonic Wars it has delighted audiences of many sorts over nearly two centuries. You could almost hear the gasp of pleasure as one of 1350127803374271000 the most well known pieces in the history of world music, was performed to the sheer delight of the audience.
The light and spirited Italian operatic mode was maintained with the aria called A Furtive Tear from Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. It is a lyric in the pure spirit of the opera of the time. It describes how a love potion works successfully to win the heart of a lady. Everyone knows that all this is very far removed from reality but the beauty of the music and the singing causes a willing suspension of disbelief. The arias from Opera were no less enchanting with Verdi’s Song of the Veil, a story ultimately with very strong moral overtones. A Moorish King falls in love with a beautiful veiled woman. It turns out to be his own very neglected wife.
Bellini another famous Italian composer of the 19th Century whose opera Norma, a tragedy set in Roman occupied Britain, was represented. It premiered at La Scala, Milan and became famous for describing the plight of the young temple virgin, who prays that she has the strength to resist the man she loves. Plenty of improbable story lines, plenty of attempts to strain belief. But the ultimate point was that the audience enjoyed themselves very much and the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra could rightly claim a superb performance when they first visited the Royal Opera House Muscat.
What are the longer term lessons to be learnt? Oman’s international worldwide image is changing. The ever growing Muscat Festival, the prowess at sea with Oman Sail and a growing reputation for caring 1350127874154280400 for it’s architecture and historic buildings makes Oman already very different. The growing reputation world wide in good music, superbly performed in a superbly equipped Opera House will link in very much with another project now coming into being — the recreation of Muscat as a port for world class luxury cruise liners.
It is part of a new Muscat, which is being created without tearing the buildings and landmarks that have made Muscat famous. There used to be a much used phrase ‘The Power of Music’. The Power of Music can and will play a very important art in the emergence of a new Oman, even better known for it’s many achievements and the natural courtesy of it’s people.

Plan for major underwater hotel

Plan for major underwater hotel
A Swiss-based firm specialising in the promotion of innovative technologies says it is keen to set up Oman’s first underwater hotel — a venture that will serve as a showcase of the country’s spectacular and diverse aquatic wealth. BIG InvestConsult AG, which represents the revolutionary Water Discus concept of underwater leisure projects developed by Poland’s Deep Ocean Technologies, insists the Sultanate is ideally suited to host an undersea hotel.
According to Bogdan Gutkowski, President and CEO of BIG InvestConsult, Oman’s magnificent coastal settings and rich aquatic life makes it a perfect location for the establishment of a luxury holiday hideaway, along with a coral garden. “In our internal analysis, Oman has been defined as one of those locations where the Water Discus Hotel could be implemented. The project is still in the conceptual stage. However, we have planned to find an exact location within 3-4 months. Then we will start to develop the project and look for a co-investor,” he added in exclusive comments to the Observer.
Last May, BIG InvestConsult signed an agreement with Dubai-based Drydocks World and its sister company Maritime World, jointly naming them as the exclusive principal contractor for all construction work linked to its underwater leisure and related projects in the Gulf region. The company also unveiled patent-protected designs depicting a futuristic hotel that rests on the seafloor but also towers above the water surface. Dubbed the Water Discus Hotel, the project consists of two components: an underwater residential disc and an above water leisure disc fitted with a couple of satellite extensions. Together, they offer guests the opportunity of a holiday amid the magnificence of the ocean environment, complete with vibrant marine life, an abundance of coral reefs, and the tropical warmth of their underwater world.
The discs are connected to three sturdy legs that rest on the seafloor, while a shaft in the centre has a lift and stairway that connects the discs. A standard model of a Water Discus Hotel envisages 21 luxuriously appointed rooms built some 10 metres below the water surface. Huge windows offer stunning views of the surrounding underwater flora and fauna. The proposed project, Gutkowski said, has the potential to rivet international tourism interest in Oman’s breathtaking maritime wealth.
“We expect the Water Discus Hotel will arouse great interest in the media as well as among the tourists, when it will be constructed. In the opinion of the marketing specialists of BIG InvestConsult AG, the Water Discus Hotel may become a symbol or signature of the city, region or country (where it is built). For sure, it will be add value to the surrounding landscape, because of its unique architectural design. We sincerely hope that the Water Discus Hotel location and construction could be a part of Oman’s tourism strategy in promoting of the country as a really unique leisure place.”
A consulting, engineering and brokerage firm, BIG InvestConsult’s business interests span many sectors, notably oil and gas, offshore services, marine engineering, production outsourcing, and renewable energy.