Artists honored at the Opera Awards

Artists honored at the Opera Awards

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Artists honored at the Opera Awards

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay (R) presents the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Grand Award to Turkey’s renowned orchestra chief Professor Gürer Aykal. AA photo

The Opera Awards, organized by the Semiha Berksoy Opera Foundation, were presented on June 19 at a ceremony held at the State Painting and Sculpture Museum Operet Stage. The foundation celebrates June 19 as the “Performing Arts Festival” as “Özsoy,” which was composed by renowned musician and composer Ahmet Adnan Saygun and is known as the first Turkish opera, was first staged at in Ankara on June 19, 1934.

Semiha Berksoy (1910 –2004) was one of the first Turkish opera singers, the prima donna of the Turkish opera, a painter, and an internationally acclaimed artist.

Among attendees of the event were Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and former Culture Minister Talat Halman.

Günay said the Özsoy Opera was composed because Mustafa Kemal Atatürk commissioned it for the visit of Iranian shah Rıva Pehlevi. “An effort was made to carry something from our own culture to the international arena. If we had continued on this course, we could today be talking about a real Turkish opera, a real Turkish ballet. Of course, we have this today, but if we insisted on continuing this effort, our artists would not have become known as performers of western works, but rather our own works would be being performed on western stages today.”

Zeliha Berksoy, the chair of the Semiha Berksoy Foundation and the daughter of the legendary singer, also shared a letter written by her mother to her father, after she had had a talk with Atatürk.

Grand award to Aykal
The Ahmed Adnan Saygun Grand Award was presented to Professor Gürer Aykal by Günay. The Semiha Berksoy Special Prize was given to the State Opera and ballet general Director Rengim Gökmen by Kılıçdaroğlu. Gökmen was also awarded with the Best Opera Orchestra Chief Award.

Other awards and recipients were the İzmir State Opera and Ballet General Directorate artist Evren Işık (Ferhat Onat Honorary Award); artist Burak Bilgili (Mustafa İktu Honorary Award); İzmir State Opera and Ballet director Mehmet Ergüven (Best Director Award); soprano Pervin Çakar (Best Female Opera Artist Award); Mersin State Opera and Ballet artist Mehmet Bezdüz (Best Male Opera Artist Award); Istanbul State Opera and Ballet artist Deniz Yetim (Best Young Generation Opera Artist Award); and Can Altan (Saadet İkesus AltanHonorary Award).

Gökmen also received an honorary award in the name of his mother, Muazzez Gökmen.