The Teatro Massimo with Fille du régiment at the Royal Opera House in Muscat. Today Orlando’s conference at the Italian Embassy, tomorrow the premiere. The Palermo Opera Foundation in Oman at the invitation of the Sultanate’s great theatre

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Great reception in Oman for the Teatro Massimo di Palermo, which arrived on tour in the Sultanate at the invitation of the Royal Opera House in Muscat, one of the largest and most important theatres in the Arab world. Tomorrow at 7.30 p.m. the premiere of Franco Zeffirelli’s historic production of Gaetano Danizetti’s Fille du régiment, with Keri-Lynn Wilson on the podium and Palermo soprano Desirée Rancatore in the lead role. On 18 May, the concert featuring soprano Diana Damrau and bass-baritone Nicolas Testé.

162 people attended, including orchestra professors, choir artists, and staff. The mayor and president of the Foundation, Leoluca Orlando, and the superintendent of the Massimo Theatre, Francesco Giambrone, arrived last night. Orlando’s agenda is full of institutional engagements. This morning he met the secretary general of the Omani Foreign Ministry, H.E. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood al Busaidi, and the secretary of the Board of Directors of the Royal Opera House of Muscat Saud Al Tamami. In the afternoon he will be a guest at the Residence of the Italian Ambassador to Oman H.E. Giorgio Visetti, where he will give a lecture on Arab-Norman Palermo, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site: a topic that aims to enhance the deep relations between Sicily and Oman, already woven since 2012 by the senior artistic manager of the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Palermo-born Francesca Campagna. Invited to the conference and reception, to welcome the mayor and the Teatro Massimo to Oman, are the founding members of the Italy-Oman association and Omani representatives from the business world and the tourism sector.

Tomorrow morning, the mayor will be welcomed at Sultan Qaboos University by the university’s top management to discuss issues and programmes of international cooperation in the educational and research sector. At 11.00 a.m. a meeting is scheduled with the Minister of State and Governor of the Muscat region H.E. Sayyid Saud bin Hilal Al Busaidi; during the meeting Orlando will illustrate the economic development and tourist growth programmes of the city of Palermo, proposing initiatives and bilateral forums in the cultural, tourist, and economic sectors.

“The Teatro Massimo,” says Orlando, “confirms itself as the pivot around which one of the axes of our city’s internationalisation revolves. Through its cultural production of the highest level, the Massimo Theatre and its artists are ambassadors of Palermo in the world and open the door to collaborations not only on an artistic level but also on a commercial level”. “We are very pleased,” Giambrone adds, “that the Royal Opera House in Muscat has chosen the Teatro Massimo as one of the guest opera houses for its season. In the coming years, this Foundation will be increasingly involved in tours and exchanges, strengthening its presence abroad and its international role. This tour, then, gives us the opportunity to take one of our most prestigious historical productions abroad as well as some great Sicilian artists’.

“The Royal Opera House Muscat,” says Francesca Campagna, “is delighted to have invited the Teatro Massimo among the five international opera houses chosen as guests for the 2015/2016 season. This initiative was strongly desired by me also because of the bond I have with the theatre in my city. The presence of the Teatro Massimo in the ROHM’s season was supported by the desire of the mayor-president and the superintendent to place the Teatro Massimo in an international panorama attentive to new frontiers and horizons. The invitation of the Royal Opera House of Muscat to the Teatro Massimo completes a cycle of hospitality that, in the last two seasons, has brought the best opera productions of the Italian tradition to Oman”.

“An all-Sicilian tour,” says Desirée Rancatore, “in fact, in addition to me, there are two great artists, Vincenzo Taormina, also from Palermo, and Pietro Adaini from Catania. I have played the role of Marie many times. I am with particular enthusiasm in Muscat where I have already been the protagonist of Traviata’.