Aegean and modern dances revived in ‘Ayşe Operetta’
“Ayşe Operetta,” which was written by Muhlis Sabahattin İzgi and had premiered in the Blak Sea province of Samsun in 1929, is getting ready to meet art lovers as it is set to take its place in the repertoire of the State Opera and Ballet (DOB), with a performance in Ankara tonight.
The operetta, remembered with the words “God bless you Ayşe, you are the star of the village, you are the one and only,” will be performed by Ankara State Opera and Ballet (ADOB) dancers.
Speaking about “Ayşe Operetta,” DOB general director Murat Karahan said, “İzgi laid the foundations of the Turkish opera brand that we wanted to create today. But we failed to do so. Now, in 2019, ‘Ayşe Operetta’ will be performed for the first time on DOB’s stage.”
“The foundation of the Turkish opera that we dream of is local and universal at the same time. The operetta has breezes of melodies of our public songs. The first act is set in a village; there are public dances in it. The second act is set in the city and there are Charleston dances and waltz. There is the life of Istanbul. This is a work that we create our own combination. İzgi laid its foundations 90 years ago. Now we are trying to catch up with it. We are very pleased that we are making the premiere of Ayşe Operetta,” he added.
Karahan said that tickets for the first two shows were sold out within a very short time, adding, “They ask us if we sell combination tickets. We don’t sell tickets especially for premieres or galas and provide a minimal number of tickets for press members and the protocol. Tickets get sold out on the first day they go on sale.”
Karahan, who plays the character Ahmet in the operetta, said they tell the story of Ahmet, who is the “bey” of a village in the Aegean region, who goes to Europe before eventually returning to his village and falling in love with his childhood friend Ayşe.
Karahan said that they were happy to perform “very special melodies” such as “Aman Ayşe, canım Ayşe’m,” and invited Ankara’s art lovers to the show.
The choreographer of the operetta, Deniz Alp, said they fictionalized traditional dances in the first act as it is set in a village square. He said that the second act is set in a mansion and they created dances impressed by Charleston and tango.
“We are very excited. I hope the audience will be happy. We have benefited from the Aegean region because it is a work in the Aegean. Charleston, tango, and the waltz are now very popular; we used these dances in the operetta, but I tried to find the steps in that period. We have 12 dancers. Our artists both sing and dance. It is very fun for me and for them,” Alp said.
The orchestra chief, Murat Cem Orhan, said that the composer of the opera, İzgi, is one of the most important composers to have merged Turkish music with contemporary music.
“We had removed the works of İzgi from the shelves. We re-orchestrated again and brought them together with our audience. It is a great pleasure for us. I and the ADOB have tried to do our best,” he said, adding that other known compositions of İzgi will also be performed on stage as a surprise.
“Ayşe Operetta” will be on stage tonight at the Opera Stage in Ankara and then in March.