Opera and Ballet archive opens to public

Opera and Ballet archive opens to public

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Opera and Ballet archive opens to public

The archive, which dates back to the 1930s, will soon be available on the Internet. AA photo

As a result of a four-year project of the State Opera and Ballet (DOB), Turkey’s opera and ballet archive, which dates back to the 1930s, will be available on the Internet. 

DOB General Director Rengim Gökmen said they had been carrying out meticulous archive work, adding, “Unfortunately the archive of the State Opera and Ballet had been neglected for years as well as the archives of all state opera and ballet directorates. Then we started a comprehensive work on this issue. More importantly, we formed the General Directorate archive from A to Z. All of the works have not been completed because thousands of works have been staged so far and we only have 700 works. A computer program has been made to upload all kinds of information about these works like posters and brochures.”

Gökmen said that the opera and ballet directorates made their own archive and they were planning to open it in the New Year. “This is the most important factor for an institute to look to its future confidentially. During my time as a general director, this is one of the most important works for me. It is now about to open to the public soon,” he said. 

Gökmen said that they had previously made announcement on the website of DOB for those who wanted to contribute to the archive, adding that the biggest support came from former opera and ballet artists. “I also donated some materials from my mother and father, who were artists, to the archive.”

Gökmen said that the archive still had deficiencies. “We have made a step, put the archive into action. It will get richer from now on,” he said. 

Eighty-three years of opera and ballet in Turkey

The archive of DOB is home to 768 works since 1930s. It includes 327 operas, 207 ballets, 44 operettas, 36 modern dances, 32 children’s musicals, 30 musicals and 25 oratorio works. Among them 581 are foreign and 187 are national works. Among the leading materials in the archive are 7,958 photos in a total of 225 headlines, 599 booklets/catalogues about the works and 365 posters. The archive gives place to the press releases of 94 works and 1,438 newspaper articles since 1968 as well as costume and décor sketches. The visual record starts from 1994 only. 

In the archive, it is possible to reach 6,468 people, who have worked for DOB or whose works have been staged. Within the framework of this, when the name of a musician, dancer, libretto writer and choreographer is searched, everything related to this name can be reached. It is also possible to reach comprehensive information about the works of the significant names such as Verdi, Mozart and Puccini, which have been staged in Turkey. 

Traces of Atatürk in the archive 

The archive works started when Gökmen brought the catalogue of the opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” which was staged in 1965. The poster of the work was provided by the National Library in Ankara, the photographs from an artist from İzmir and its brochures from the storage of the Ankara State Opera and Ballet. 

The archive contains the “Özsoy” opera, which was composed at the request of Atatürk for Iranian Shah Reza Pahlavi, who visited Turkey in 1934, along with a photo of Pahlavi viewing the opera. It also includes the catalogue of “Taş Bebek” opera, which was first staged on Dec. 27, 1934, due to the memory of Atatürk’s visit to Ankara and the catalogue of “Atatürk Oratorio,” which was first performed on Nov. 9, 1953, due to the transfer of Atatürk’s body to the mausoleum. 

The materials of the first Turkish ballet “Coppelia,” which was staged in 1961, also exists in the archive.