Istanbul Ballet and Opera prepares for Aspendos

Istanbul Ballet and Opera prepares for Aspendos

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Istanbul Ballet and Opera prepares for Aspendos

This season the choreography of the ballet has been conceived by Mehmet Balkan, in a departure from the earlier choreography of Petipa and Ivanov.

Istanbul State Opera and Ballet (İDOB) is making preparations for its appearance at the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet festival. The state opera will showcase itself by staging its version Tchaikovsky’s famous work Swan Lake, which features original choreography, in June. A preview of the ballet will be shown at the Bahçeşehir Culture and Art Center on March 12 and 14.

This season the choreography of the ballet has been conceived by Mehmet Balkan, in a departure from the earlier choreography of Petipa and Ivanov.

Özge Başaran and Deniz Zirek will be taking the stage as the character of Odette, and Odile will be played by İlke Kodal, Tülay Yalçınkaya and Müge Celiloğlu. Jozef Varga from the Dutch National Ballet (Het Nationale Ballet) will take on the role of Prince Siegfried, as a guest artist of the ballet. The costumes will be made by Savaş Camgöz.

The first performance of Swan Lake in Turkey took place in 1965 in Ankara. Meriç Sümen and Gülcan Tunççekiç played the roles of Odette and Prince Siegfried. İDOB once again staged the ballet in Paris on 1974.


Chorographer Mehmet Balkan. AA photo

Swan Lake’s famous choreography

Speaking to Anatolia news agency, the chorographer of the ballet, Mehmet Balkan, described Swan Lake as a classic work in the history of ballet.

“The work is a masterpiece for us, not only for its music, but also for its choreography and technique,” he said. The choreography was created in line with the 1895 revival of Swan Lake by Petipa, Ivanov and Drigo, a particularly famous version of the ballet. “The choreography 75 percent belongs to me.

However, there are two main parts in the original that I really did not want to interfere with. I did not want to change it because in the original the dances are perfect, so left it as it is,” Balkan added.

Stating his wish to carry the work through 2013, Balkan said that he hoped it might be possible to reflect a more modernized version next time. “I would really like to reflect something very moder, but we cannot be certain the audience is ready for that,” he said.

The reason the team has chosen Bahçeşehir Culture Center to stage the preview of the work is due to the impending move of İDOB. “While İDOB will be participating in Aspendos with Swan Lake, in the next season or year the Atatürk Cultural Center will be open and we feel that staging the ballet in another place would be like a rehearsal for us,” said Balkan.

“I have been a choreographer for more than 20 years. I have taken works of choreography to foreign countries on many occasions,” he added.

Lale Balkan, Balkan’s wife, has been working alongside him as his assistant. “At first we worked with the Hannover State Ballet. My wife provides me with enormous support in my work,” he said, adding that she his wife was also the most important critic for his creations.

İDOB opened its new season on Sept. 29 with Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Nabucco.” The opera was staged at Hagia Irene in honor of Verdi’s 200th birthday.

To mark the occasion, the state opera has staged a number of works from different periods of Verdi’s musical career, with Italian conductor Gianluca Bianchi directing the orchestra, and Gökçen Koray directing the choir. The choir is also set to host exclusive guest artists during the season.

Ballets, operas and choral works to be performed over the 2013 season at İDOB will include “Elixir of Love,” “The Ears of Midas,” “Yusuf and Züleyha,” “Hasanaginica,” “Ariende on Naxos,” “La Traviata,” “The Turn of the Screw,” “The Barber of Seville,” “The Merry Widow,” “Wolfgang and Lorenzo,” “Faure’s Requiem.”