Belcanto in the Desert

Two years ago, the Sultan bestowed an opera house on his people: The Royal Opera House Muscat in the capital of Oman combines Western classical music and traditional Eastern music. For the opening performance, Plácido Domingo conducted Puccini's Turandot, but music stars of the Arabic world are also regular guests at the opera house. Befittingly, the architecture of the building brings two worlds together: While the mighty building was designed to include traditional Arabic archways, a modern high-tech concert hall is found inside. The ambiente is exotic by Western standards: Omanis don't pay ncome taxes and have free health insurance, but "offending" the Sultan is punishable by law. A native of Germany finds herself in a position between opening up to the West and preserving traditional values: Christina Scheppelmann, who grew up in Hamburg and who has had many years of experience in American opera management, became General Manager of the opera house in Oman in December of 2012.

Listen (in German)

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