Perfection personified

Joshua Bell and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields left the audience enthralled with their magical renditions.

Virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell’s second outing at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), saw him leading, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra. The ensemble played pieces by Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig Van Beethoven. While Bell is well known as a violin exponent, the audience at the Opera House got a glimpse of his formidable talent as a conductor.

The concert began with Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, Op 26, also called ‘Fingal’s Cave.’ The music painted a canvas of myriad hues. Bell followed this with a solo performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto Op 64, E Minor. The strains of his 300-year-old Stradivarius, filling the Opera House with its magical rendition. The clarity of notes and seamless transitions left an indelible impression on the audience.

The concert concluded with Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 Op. 55, E-Flat Major, better known as the “Eroica.” The composition is a monumental one that released him from his earlier style of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Eroica is perhaps the earliest work to bring in abstraction of the heroic, romantic imagination of the French revolution. To the Viennese audience at the first performance the vast and powerful first movement and the funeral march that follows were like nothing else in music that they had heard. The same held true for Bell’s performance – it was unlike anything that Muscat audiences had heard for a while.

Ali Al Balushi wins Red Bull Car Park Drift

Oman’s champion prepares to represent the Sultanate at the Red Bull Car Park Drift regional final in Dubai.

The Red Bull Car Park Drift Oman qualifier crowned a new champion, Ali Al Balushi, who battled for first place as spectators watched the series at the Oman Automobile Association. The Omani ‘King of Drift’ from the pro category will represent the Sultanate in the regional finals hosted in Dubai. Runner up Arif al Balushi will also head to the regional finals.

‏Fifteen elite drivers from Oman were selected to compete in the fifth season of Red Bull Car Park Drift. With their distinctively modified cars, the drifters took on the challenging course, designed by Lebanese Rally Champion and Red Bull athlete Abdo Feghali, with exceptional precision.

After being announced as the winner, Ali al Balushi said, “I am very excited to have won for two consecutive years. The competition was strong but I knew that a lot of spectators were with me because of last years’ win. I came third in the regional finals in Dubai and I hope this year I win the competition.”

The technical aspects of the competition were also supervised Feghali. The panel of judges evaluated the drivers’ performances based of specific criteria. The final score was based on five factors; 50 percent allocated to the art of drift while the remaining score was equally divided between the engine’s roar and tires’ smoke, crowd’s reaction, the appearance of the car, front clipping point and rear clipping point.

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