YOUR EXCELLENCIES, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Royal Opera House Muscat to announce the new 2018 - 2019 Season, to share some of our achievements over the past season, and to preview what lies ahead.
Marking ROHM's eighth year, the 2018 - 2019 Season, called Around the World With ROHM, breaks new ground in presenting an exceptionally high number of the world's best performing artists - and premiering not one, but two major new ROHM co-productions with some of opera's finest companies.
Later this morning, you will hear about our new programs from ROHM's Director General, Mr Umberto Fanni, and Dr Issam El Mallah, as well as some new exciting Education and Outreach developments from Ms Lisa Navach.
Before beginning, it is important to emphasize that the Supreme Committee and Board of Directors of the ROHM take great care in selecting and approving world-class productions that suit our culture, often with an Omani touch. We ensure a well-balanced programme which incorporates feedback from ROHM patrons and always in accordance with His Majesty's vision.
We are proud to announce that the Royal Opera House Muscat reached a new milestone, by participating in the prestigious International Opera Awards as the Special Category Sponsor for Female Singer. This was an opportunity to speak about Oman, and the Royal Opera House Muscat, emphasizing its role as a leading international Opera House which celebrates excellence in all domains of opera and its support of young aspiring talent.
Please allow me to share a video clip of this spectacular event…
The Royal Opera House Muscat continues its practice of training young Omanis in relevant areas of theatre, both in-house and abroad; for example, training Omani technicians in staging and lighting at the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival held in Italy every August.
And we give young Omanis a chance to find out if they are inspired by Performing Arts as a career choice by recruiting them as Extras in Full scale international operas. This past season, nearly all the extras were Omani Nationals, with a total of seventy-three men, women and children appearing on stage.
As ROHM reaches out to new audiences at home and abroad, the trend to greater social media engagement continues apace with impressive user gains in all important domains. We have also witnessed a growing volume of sales through our alliances with local hotels and international tourism organizations, which contributed to seat occupancy reaching an average of about 93% in the 2017-18 Season. 23% of our patrons came from 82 different Nations. The top five countries in descending order are: The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, The United States of America and Switzerland.
I am pleased to announce that ROHM is instituting a major revamp of its ticketing system. The new ticketing platform is more user-responsive, enabling you to make faster selections on your mobile devices or computer, including via Facebook and Google, with seat maps in HTML. We will be introducing a new tier segment for star-studded line-ups which will be called Tier 1+. We also have a new pricing system which includes low and uniform pricing for traditional, folkloric and educational events. Open-air shows will be ticketed at a nominal price with guaranteed seats. A refund policy will now be in place, and a voucher system will apply to corporations to address the problem of block booking and unused seats.
Finally, and with the aim of bringing you the very best in Arab performances, a Committee to strengthen and elevate the quality of Arab programming has been formed and is chaired by Her Excellency, The Chairman of the ROHM BoD with expert members from inside and outside the ROHM. The aim of the Committee is to fortify, enrich and carefully study the Arab Programme before they are presented to the ROHM Board of Directors for review and final approval.
Our efforts to serve the public have expanded with an important new initiative. In recognition of World Cancer Day, last February, the Royal Opera House building was illuminated in orange and blue in a global effort with 140 other countries to respond to a call from Union International for Cancer Control (UICC) to show cancer patients, survivors and their families that they are globally embraced.
Shortly after our cancer awareness initiative, the Royal Opera House Muscat held its fifth and most successful Blood Donation Campaign, attracting a total of 135 donors. To encourage people to care for one another and promote community cohesion, we adopted the slogan "Give Blood, A Gift Straight from the Heart".
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Supreme Committee and the Board of Directors of the Royal Opera House Muscat, as well as the entire staff for their continual hard work and genuine dedication.
Moreover, we would like to express appreciation to our audiences, and to the performing artists and companies whose support and enthusiastic feedback have augmented the stellar reputation that the Royal Opera House Muscat enjoys.
And we give special thanks to all the distinguished media representatives for their excellent coverage throughout the past seven seasons.
We hope that everyone will join us on another exciting journey Around the World With ROHM in 2018-19. So without any further delay, I would like to present to you the trailer for ROHM's new upcoming season…