I have never been to the opera before, and that certainly wasn’t the first thing I thought we would be doing on my exchange. But, last night we definitely went to the opera, and though my friends, it sounds pretty extravagant, I can finally cross it off my list of “things I probably don’t need to do but might enjoy nonetheless.”
Prior to the evening, I along with my fellow exchange students were getting ready, as in trying to find our inner “dignified socialites”. Except this was Arabian Gulf style, so it was Abaya and everything else shiny. My host mother lent me a black abaya. After quite a bit of deliberation, I decided it would look rather odd to wear the abaya without the shayla. I managed to secure the shayla into place with a few spare bobby pins and I was on my way. Before I left, my host mom smeared some thick kajol across my eyes, along with a hefty amount of glitter.
Alas, despite how respectable we were at that moment, we decided to go out for hamburgers before hand (insert your judgments here). The restaurant seemed to be going for the “get your kicks on route 66 thing”, but due to the fact we were in the Middle East, and the menu consisted of beef bacon, it fell a little short.
The Royal Muscat Opera House does enforce a strict dress code, so your formal modest attire is appreciated. It was actually built with the help of his majesty, Sultan Qaboos as a tribute to the arts. Today, they produce regular performances of ballet, music, and Opera. The show we were scheduled to see that night was the Barber of Seville.
From the courtyard we were greeted with stoic marble pillars, leading you into an open room of Persian rugs and high arching ceilings. It was not complete without the great abundance of gold embellishments bedazzling at least half the wall space. All of the floors were freshly polished, still slicked with a shine.
The people around us were a mix of tourists, a few locals, and maybe even a few opera enthusiasts somewhere in there.
Once we made it up to the theater, I was astonished by all of the intricately carved wood. Wood here is true luxury as it is much harder to come by than many other building materials. For that reason, to have an entire theater built of it is quite extravagant.
Being as uncultured as I am, I immediately saw the program and assumed the Barber of Seville would be written in Spanish. Unfortunately it took about half the play to realize, it was in fact Italian instead. Or maybe it was another language. For now I will return to the ways of an uncultured teenager.
Until next time,