Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Opera Gaining New Audiences in Ankara, Turkey

A scene from Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves at Ankara Opera
"A Western style of music is having success in the capital of Turkey, which has an Islamic majority and is moving away from the foundations that were laid by Ataturk: opera. Opera theatres are often sold out and ticket sales have increased. This trend was revealed by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet (ADOB), which underlines that the occupancy of theatres increased by 6% in the first half of this season (2011/12), when 36 thousand people saw a total of 68 highly appreciated performances. The season was opened by the ballet The Hunchback of Notre dame and continued with the Turkish opera Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, said ADOB
chairman Erdogan Davran. Davran added that a Tosca premiere was also on the programme (directed by Alessandro Cedrone and lighting by Stefano Pirandello). Opera in Turkey owes its success to the impulse it received from the founder of the modern country, Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk in fact loved this genre, despite the fact that he had opened the country to all Western arts in the fields of painting, sculpture, literature, music, ballet and theatre. He wanted to use culture to tie relations to the Western countries that had used Turkey as eastern bulwark against the Soviet Union for decades. After the fall of the Wall in 1989 and the start of the era of the moderate Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003, Turkey started to reposition itself: from NATO guardian to a regional power that wants to become a model for the entire Middle East and North African area. Turkey's shift towards the Islamic world under the umbrella of a secular political constitution does not appear to have corroded the success of opera, at least according to the figures on this season in Ankara." [Source]
A scene from Macbeth at the Ankara Opera

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