On 18th of November, Oman celebrates ‘National Day’. Every year Omanis celebrate with great pride the independence from the Portuguese in 1650. The 19th of November is also the day that His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said’s birthday is celebrated.
Given the importance of November, the Royal Opera House celebrates accordingly. This time we move to the ‘Maidan’. This area in front of the Opera House is the perfect setting for outdoor concerts and events. The Military event involves members of all of the military forces and the police. It can be compared to the Edinburgh Tattoo in format. It is a hugely popular event and is free to attend.
The line-up for this year included performances by The Republic of Korea army and The Central Orchestra of Georgia Armed forces and National Folkdance Ensemble.
As a department we make use of our extensive in house stock. Bruno Silva our assistant head of department is in charge of designing the system and opted to hire a Digico SD7 for the FOH position and a SD10 for the monitors/ broadcast position. Our M’elodie line array from the main house is de rigged and re rigged onto truss also hired from a local company. 8 Meyer 500-HP subs, a single UPQ (used as a side fill for bleacher style seating) and 2 UPJ’s for a VIP seating area were also used.
The load in time was carefully scheduled from 4pm to midnight for 4 nights so as to keep out of the sun and searing heat of the Middle East. Despite being November, temperatures can still reach the mid thirties (degrees celsius) at midday. We often forget it is so warm outside when we are in the lovely air conditioned auditorium!
Sound check and dress rehearsals were scheduled over two days in order to ensure that work did not take place during the hottest period of the day. The first day comprised of all the ‘local’ acts. This included marching bands and displays from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force as well as the Royal Omani Police. On the second day we welcomed the Korean ensemble. Each act was introduced by commentary in Arabic and English. The two commentators sat next to the front of house lighting and sound positions.
It is the uniqueness of creating an event like this in Oman that it is so incredibly satisfying. The excitement generated is a sure reminder of His Majesty’s vision for his Opera House.
Clare Hibberd: Clare is a Senior Sound and Broadcast Technician at the Royal Opera House, Muscat. Her blog will focus on resilience and adaptation as a woman in the sound industry including past and present challenges with working abroad.
About Clare: Clare gained her first class bachelors degree at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her career has taken her all over the world, working on some of the most successful (and not so successful) musical theatre productions to come out of the West-End. With the added bonus of recently completing a post graduate teaching certificate, she is now looking to implement teaching and learning programmes for Omani technical trainees as part of a wider Omanisation strategy.