The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) is preparing to host noted Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf in October.
Twenty seven year old Assaf, from the Gaza Strip, is known for his surprising win at the Arab Idol in 2013 which was broadcast on MBC channel. Assaf will be performing classic Arabic music along with a guest orchestra from the US, MESTO (the Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra).
“There are many reasons we were interested in bringing him,” ROHM assistant programme and events advisor Salwa Atef said over telephone. “He’s a young singer, and very famous and very distinguished. He represents Palestine.”
Assaf was born in Libya to Palestinian parents, but grew up in a Gaza refugee camp. He took an unconventional path to fame, beginning as a wedding singer. For the Arab Idol competition, he travelled by land from Gaza to Egypt, literally having to overcome border hurdles. He beat an Egyptian and a Syrian in the final of the competition.
Assaf, who considers himself a nationalist, has become a symbol of success for Palestine. His win was celebrated throughout Palestine, and because of his background, throughout the Arab world. He has since been named a goodwill ambassador for peace by United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA).
He was the subject of a 2015 film, The Idol, by Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad. The accompanying MESTO orchestra is known for both its Arabic music and combining styles from across cultures.
A box-office representative from ROHM said so far around half of the seats for the concert have been sold. Tickets for the show on October 8 which begins at 7pm are priced between RO5 and RO45. A guest performance by Assaf will be held on October 6 as part of the Omani Women’s Day special concert.
By Faris Al Hashmi
© Apex Press and Publishing