Istanbul Opera Festival kicks off
During the launch of the festival at the garden of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister Özgül Özkan Yavuz said that that the first time the festival came into being was in 2010 when Istanbul was chosen as the European cultural capital. “This year, despite the pandemic conditions, we are organizing it for the 11th time. Of course, we have taken all the precautions and reduced the number of our representations.”
Stating that there will be four performances within the scope of the festival this year where international artists will not be present, Yavuz said, “We will organize the festival together with our guest artists from other provinces, mainly from Istanbul.”
Talking about the safety and control measures in the time of the pandemic, Yavuz said, “We chose open-air spaces as a precaution, and we have taken all precautions for the art lovers by using half the capacity even in open-air spaces.”
Yavuz noted that considering the health of both their artists and art technical staff, precautions in the backstage and behind the scenes are in place, and they will not be using costumes and decorations to be more controlled.
Stating that since June, the ministry has been carrying out various activities with maximum measures on open-air spaces, they will organize programs depending on the course of the pandemic in the new season. “As you know, the Science Board makes weekly decisions, and we will continue according to the developments where we are ready for anything.”
Talking about the preparations and arrangements of the festival, Yavuz said, “We have prepared our new seasonal programs considering the pandemic conditions where we will be using the same halls at intervals of 48 hours with distance seating arrangement in place and stage shows with fewer artists, continuing in this way by following the decisions of our government.”
Highlighting on the importance of the festivals, Yavuz said, “Such international activities are important for Istanbul’s recognition and awareness in the world as art is that medium, which always brings people together and boosts morale.”
State Opera and Ballet General and Art Director Murat Karahan said that in such a difficult period, artists have to give morale to the people.
He stated that this year the festival will be held mainly in line with the new type of coronavirus measures, and said, “At the end of the festival, as a classic, we will present ‘Abduction from the Palace’ opera with a small staff and a new version referring to the pandemic where Caner Akın will put the work on the stage.”
Karahan noted that Turkey’s seven most important sopranos took to the stage at the launch of the festival and added, “Currently, the festival is only open to the audience with tickets, but you know that during the most intense period of the pandemic, we have been working hard to not leave our audience without art and together with the ministry’s YouTube page and Sanat Cepte application as well as our solution partner [Turkish Radio Television] TRT 2, we shared many concerts in our archives with our audience via online broadcasting.”
Talking about showcasing the art performances to the audience, Karahan said, “As you know, the State Opera and Ballet normally starts the season in October, but this year, we gradually started our concerts in September and will be in front of the audience with our representations that will comply with pandemic conditions as much as we can.”
Evren Ekşi, Sevinç Demirağ, Nurdan Küçükekmekçi, Perihan Artan, Eylem Demirhan Duru, Mine Kurtoğlu and Burcu Uyar took the stage as soloists at the launch of the concert.
The 90-minute concert presented works by famous opera composers, including Giuseppe Verdi, Alfredo Catalani and Giacomo Puccini.