The performance of Puccini's Turandot attracted some of the industry's most famous artists. Image Credit: Mohammed Mustafa

Muscat: Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed hoped the Royal Opera House, which he formally opened on Wednesday night, will play a significant role in disseminating world heritage and reinforcing the principles of peace, co-existence and understanding among all nations and peoples through art events.

"They (art events) express a common human cultural heritage of strong meaning and deep impact," he said after opening the iconic Opera House.

According to Franco Zeffirelli, legendary Italian opera director, the Royal Opera House in Muscat will help Arab culture merge with the great tradition of European classics. "I have been dreaming about it (merging of Arab and European classics) for years and now I see it becoming a reality with the opening of Opera House in Muscat," he said during an interaction with the media Thursday.

The wheelchair-bound entertainer urged everyone to forget the political differences to make universal peace. "Everything about Opera is beautiful," he opined.

The octogenarian praised Oman for opening the door to ‘magnificent' multipurpose opera House. ""This is a masterpiece, great achievement by Oman and I and grateful to you all," the jovial theatre genius said.

"Oman throughout its long history has played prominent roles in various cultural fields and the time has come now to cap that rich march by means of adopting concepts of international culture and by effective contribution to its promotion," Sultan Qaboos said after opening the Opera House.

"Towards that end, we have established the Royal Opera House Muscat as a centre of cultural radiation The Omani monarch cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the official opening of the Royal Opera House after that Zeffirelli's masterpiece "Turandot" was premiered with Fondazione Arena di Verona orchestra performing under Placido Domingo's baton.

The performance of Puccini's Turandot attracted some of the industry's most famous artists. It was directed by Franco Zeffirelli, while the Fondazoine Arena di Verona Orchestra and chorus was led by Placido Domingo.

The opera house promises an impressive first season, with planned performances by Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, and soprano Renee Fleming.

Also on the agenda are music performances by world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Ballet Theatre in a production of Don Quixote, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis with New York city's Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra.

A tribute in honour of legendary Arab singer Oum Kalthoum and a concert by the Arab diva Majda Roumi are also on the schedule.

The project was first launched in 2001 by orders of the sultan.

The opera house, a glamorous structure built on a plot of 80,000 square metres (861,140 square feet), shares the grounds with a small theatre, restaurants, and luxury shops, with at least half the area designated for gardens.

The only other opera house in the Arab world is in Cairo.

WIth additional inputs by AFP