© Royal Opera House, Mumbai

Royal Opera Gala: An evening of opera and chamber music | 4th December 2016

To celebrate the re-opening of the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, The Neemrana Music Foundation and the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation join hands to propose an exclusive program of Western classical music.

The Royal Opera House has been the pride of Mumbai ever since its inauguration in 1912. The Opera House is built in a baroque design featuring a blend of European and Indian architectural styles. Owned by the royal family of Gondal, it has just been beautifully restored by the famous architect Abha Narain Lambah. The Royal Opera Gala will be the first programme presenting a content for which the Opera House, with its perfect acoustics, was designed.

What is an Opera Gala?

An Opera Gala is a concert in which singers perform opera arias and ensembles accompanied by an orchestra. To restore the grandeur and drama of opera, we have decided to put the musicians in the orchestra pit and stage the songs, with spectacular backdrops and costumes. Famous film director Muzaffar Ali is in charge of the projections to create unique settings for each of the 8 operas showcased. Famous actor and stage director Sunit Tandon will direct the 6 soloists, 25 singers from the Lyric Ensemble and well-know Kerala dance troop Samudra.

An all Indian production

All singers are Indian and many will fly from Europe to perform this exceptional event. The choir will consist of highly trained singers selected from Delhi and Mumbai. An orchestral ensemble and grand piano will accompany the voices, from the pit. All the operas chosen are set in India, showcasing the tribute paid by the West to the East! The production will be as spectacular as a Bollywood show, with dances, costumes and visuals, making opera accessible to all.

The Neemrana Music Foundation

Founded in 2003, The Neemrana Music Foundation is a non-profit organisation which focuses on training young musicians and singers from India to acquire professional skills in the field of Western Classical Music. The foundation organizes regular workshops and supports young talents by offering scholarships.

Because music is also a tool for development, The Neemrana Music Foundation has programs with different NGO’s, including a boys’ choir at the Blind Relief Association and music classes to under-privileged children.

Through productions of spectacular operas and concerts, we also provide a platform for talented Indian singers and musicians to become accomplished professionals.

Sunit Tandon – Stage director

Sunit is a well-known news anchor on Indian National Television and a radio broadcaster. He is also active as a theatre director and actor, with approximately 150 productions to his credit. He is currently the President of the Delhi Music Society, the capital’s oldest society promoting Western classical music education and appreciation. Sunit is also in charge of the opera film screening at the Habitat Centre.

Philippe Engel – Musical director

Philippe has started music at a very young age, first as a student of violin, then as a pianist. He has studied conducting at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and has been musical adviser and audio producer in many important theatres such as the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Opera de Paris, collaborating with conductors like Zubin Mehta and Valery Gergiev.

Head of the Music Department at the Neemrana Music Foundation since 2014, Philippe Engel has recently been appointed Director of the Delhi School of Music.

The European Union – main sponsor

The European Union Delegation to India has supported The Neemrana Music Foundation’s educational activities and productions since 2014. Opera is a strong vector of European culture, as it carries literature in different languages, founding myths and history, along with the universal power of music.


The evening would not have been possible without the support of:

  • Godrej Properties, our associate sponsor. Active supporter of the arts, Godrej Properties believe in music as a tool for development
  • The Royal Opera House for its constant support in helping set up the first operatic show at this amazing venue
  • Furtados, for providing the instruments without which there is no music!


Part One – Opera Gala

Staged excerpts of operas with themes celebrating India

Guest star: Patricia Rozario, soprano

Musical director; Philippe Engel

Stage director: Sunit Tandon

Costumes and visuals by Muzaffar Ali

Part Two – Chamber Music

Bemberg “Chant Hindou” (with Guest Singer Patricia Rozario)

W.A. Mozart, Piano Trio E flat Major

Mahler, Piano Quartet A minor

Piazzolla, Grand Tango (piano & cello)


Programme of Opera Gala (total duration 45 minutes)

  • Handel, Triumph scene from Poro, King of India  (1731)
  • Leonardo Vinci “Vil trofeo” from Alexander in India (1729)
  • Bizet, duet, danced choir, Leila’s aria  from The Pearl Fishers (1863)
  • Louis Spohr, grand finale act2 from Jessonda (1823)
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Song of the Indian Guest from Sadko (1896)
  • Pablo Luna, Baroda scene from The Jewish Boy (1918)
  • Leo Delibes, Flower duet from Lakmé (1883)
  • Adolphe Adam, Bollywood song from If I were King (1852)


Invited soloists :                           

Patricia Rozario – guest artiste (soprano)

Joanne d’Mello – soprano

Ramya Roy – mezzo-soprano

Amar Muchhala – tenor

Darwin Leonard – baritone

Edwin Joseph – baritone

Neemrana Lyric Ensemble and Giving Voice Society – young promising singers training under voice teachers Jasmin Martorell and Patricia Rozario

Choir conductors Nadya Balyan and Parvesh Java

The Samudra Performing Arts ballet – a contemporary dance incorporating elements of Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayattu