‘Those Crazy Turks’ on stage as an opera style

‘Those Crazy Turks’ on stage as an opera style

İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency
‘Those Crazy Turks’ on stage as an opera style

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The world premiere of “Şu Çılgın Türkler” (Those Crazy Turks), adapted from Turkish writer Turgut Özakman’s novel of the same name, premiered on Nov. 10 in a performance by the İzmir State Opera and Ballet (İZDOB). The historical book tells the stories of a heroic defense against Greek and European forces in the Turkish War of Independence from 1919 to 1922.

The 747-page book was released in 2005. A best seller in Turkey, the book was brought to the opera stage with Sıtkı Tekmen’s libretto and Çetin Işıközlü’s music under the direction of Haldun Özörten.
Before the world premiere of the piece on the 74th anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, İZDOB manager and art director Aytül Büyüksaraç, Tekmen, Işıközlü and Özörten held a press conference at the Elhamra Stage.

Büyüksaraç said that they greatly valued the memory of Atatürk. “Nov. 10 is the day when we lost him but we want to see him reborn with this work. We are proud of presenting it and feel a large responsibility.”

The book, which tells the story of the War of Independence, was adapted to the opera stage in a short amount of time and with difficulties, Işıközlü said. “The real difficulty was the success of the heroes of the Turkish army who gave us this nation.”

Tekmen said the War of Independence had so far been depicted in clichés. “We see in this magnificent novel, which is made up of wonderful stories based on thousands of documents, that those who joined this struggle achieved the impossible.”

Stage manager Özörten said barcovision visuals facilitated quick set changes during the opera. “We present real scenes in the opera and the audience feels the pain felt in this period.”

Great interest

The İZDOB Elhamra Stage, where “Those Crazy Turks” made its world premiere, received so much interest from art lovers and invite-only guests that some people had to remain standing during the two-act opera.