Rigoletto World Premiere Now Opens at Royal Opera House in Muscat Oman

The choice to stage Franco Zeffirelli’s Rigoletto on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Royal Opera House Muscat, in addition to the great artistic achievement, also represents an instrument of attraction and development in the international cultural and tourism field, which increasingly recognizes Omani theater as a cultural destination of excellence and an oasis of culture, peace, and encounter in the Middle East.

“We celebrate one of the most important moments in the history of the Royal Opera House in Muscat and its relationship with Italian opera which began in 2011, when this modern architectural masterpiece, considered one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, was inaugurated with Puccini’s Turandot and directed by Zeffirelli,” declared the General and Artistic Director of the Royal Opera House of Muscat, Umberto Fanni, presenting the event in Rome.

“The deux ex machina of this great project and the trait-d ‘union of our top ten years of life is maestro Zeffirelli and we are in fact here to present his latest work which will be staged on January 20, 2022, with replicas on January 21 and 22 and with a double cast.

A historical relationship is what binds the Royal Opera House Muscat with Italy.

“This is a new production of the Royal Opera House Muscat in co-production with Fondazione Arena di Verona and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater in Vilnius. Baritone Leo Nucci will play the role of the protagonist, and alongside him will be the young soprano Giuliana Gianfaldoni in the role of Gilda, Riccardo Zanellato (Sparafucile), and Yulia Mazurova (Maddalena). Maestro Jan Latham-Koenig will conduct the orchestra and choir of the Fondazione Arena di Verona.

The artistic team chosen by Zeffirelli is made up of the Collaborating Director, Stefano Trespidi; the Set Designer, Carlo Centolavigna; and the Costume Designer, Maurizio Millenotti. The whole exhibition is characterized by the hand of an all-Italian craftsmanship from the costumes of the Farani tailoring to the scenes created in the workshops of the Arena Foundation in Verona and in Tivoli.

The show will be broadcast on January 28 on Rai 5 (Italian TV channel) in prime time. The launch of the season also includes an exhibition dedicated to the great director at the Royal Opera House of Musical Arts where from January 16 to March 20, 2022, with artifacts, images, and videos, many of which are being exhibited for the first time, and will highlight the artistic value and vision by Zeffirelli for the great work.

Cecilia Gasdia, Superintendent and Artistic Director of the Arena di Verona Foundation, said: “A historical relationship is what binds the Royal Opera House – an institutional reality with a strong iconic value, a symbol of the country’s cultural identity, and the Arena di Verona Foundation. We can consider it a brother theater, and we are honored to be together once again to Rigoletto above all for the memory that binds us both to Zeffirelli who I esteemed a great friend.”

Enthusiasm for the great event was also expressed by the ambassador of Italy in Oman, Ms. Federica Favi: “I am very proud, as an Italian abroad, to see Rigoletto represented with such an exceptional presence from Italy, about 200 people involved in the staging are a considerable number for a country that has 4 1/2 million inhabitants; a small city that will be invaded by this ‘magical Italianness.’ Italian culture in Oman is certainly the driving force of bilateral relations and allows us to develop business in other economic sectors.”


Listed as one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, the Royal Opera House Muscat is a complex of extraordinary charm for the happy combination of Omani taste and style and contemporary architectural design. It is an emblematic synthesis of tradition and modernity, the same that distinguishes the country. Excellent acoustics, cutting-edge technical features for functionality, and technologies made available to the most modern productions, make it a perfect theatrical machine.




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