Historic theater presents 21st Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival
Tthe festival will bring together Turkish and foreign artists and groups in the extraordinary acoustics of the historic Aspendos Theater.The southern province of Antalya’s historic Aspendos Theater will host the 21st International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival between Aug. 30-Sept. 24. The festival has been organized with the collaboration of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the State Opera and Ballet General Directorate since 1994. It gained international status in 1998, being one of the most important organizations in the international art scene.
So far, the festival has brought together many Turkish and foreign artists and groups in the extraordinary acoustics of the 2,000-year-old Aspendos Theater.
This year, the festival will host İzmir, Mersin, Antalya, Ankara and Antalya opera and ballet directorates, as well as foreign guests including the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theater and Italian Taormina Festival Opera.
The opening of the 21st International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival will be held by Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida” on Aug. 30. The work will be staged by the İzmir State Opera and Ballet.
The opera tells the story of an Ethiopian princess Aida, who was captured and enslaved by Egyptians. An Egyptian military commander, Radames, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the pharaoh. To complicate the story further, the Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris is in love with Radames, although he does not return her feelings.
The festival’s second guest will be the Mersin Opera and Ballet on Sept. 3 with “Notre Dame de Paris” by Cesare Pugni and Bujor Hoinic. Staged by Volkan Ersoy and Armağan Davran, the opera is the story of Quasimodo, who is an abandoned child left at Notre Dame and his love for a French gypsy woman, Esmeralda.
On Sept. 6, the festival’s first foreign guest will take the stage. The Hungarian troupe Budapest Operetta and Musical Theater will perform “Operettas Gala.” The audience will be entertained with the legendary melodies of the best Austrian, German, French and Hungarian operetta-composers in an impressive environment by the leading stars of the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theater. The concert will feature the beloved melodies of the most popular operetta composers including Johann Strauss, Jacques Offenbach and Emmerich Kálmán in Aspendos’ enchanting setting, in a genuine Viennese, Parisian, Venetian, Oriental, Transylvanian and Hungarian spirit.
The Antalya State Opera and Ballet will perform Verdi’s “La Traviata.” Recognized as one of the most famous and popular operas in the world, “La Traviata” has had a long history since the first performance in 1853. It is based on the renowned French writer Alexandre Dumas’ novel “La Dame aux Camélias” (The Lady of the Camellias).
The ballet “Harem” by Merih Çimenciler will be performed by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet on Sept. 13. The work has been staged many times in Turkey and abroad, receiving great interest. It is a love story that surrounds Çeşmidil, Gülbeden and Kemal in the Ottoman seraglio.
On Sept. 17, the Aspendos Theater will host a historical character, Attila the Hun. Verdi’s famous opera will be performed by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet. In the opera, Attila invades Italy. The Huns celebrate their victory as a group of captured Roman women are brought in. The Roman leader is Odabella, daughter of the Lord of Aquileia, who was killed by Attila. She declares that Italian women will always defend their land. Impressed by her courage, Attila offers to grant her a favor and Odabella asks for a sword. When Attila gives her his own, she vows to use it against him.
The festival’s other foreign guest is from Italy, the Taormina Festival Opera, which comes from the International Taormina Festival in Sicily. It will be on the stage Sept. 20 with Puccini’s “Tosca.” It is based on Victorien Sardou’s 1887 French-language dramatic play “La Tosca” and is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, when the Kingdom of Naples’ control of Rome was threatened by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy.
The closing event of the festival will be performed by George Frideric Handel’s famous “Hercules.” The Turkey premiere of the work will be performed by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet. It is a musical drama in three acts.