‘Troy,’ first Turkish opera by foreign composer
It took three-and-a-half months for conductor and composer Bujor Hoinic to start the production of the opera “Troy” from scratch and complete it. “Troy” is gearing up to become one of the most important productions of Turkey’s State Opera and Ballet (DOB) this year.
Hoinic, who created Troy with his son Artun Hoinic, and DOB general director and tenor Murat Karahan, who is also the general art director of the opera, spoke to state-run Anadolu Agency during the rehearsals of the opera.
Karahan said they neared the end of the works on “Troy” and the premiere of the work would be held at the ATO Congresium on Nov. 9 in Ankara.
“The tickets went on sale last week. The hall has 3,028 seats and the tickets have been sold out already,” he said, adding that the tickets were sold out in three days.
He said not only Ankara residents but also many people from other cities will come to watch the opera. “This gives us great hope for the future, for art, for what we are trying to do. We are very happy. We had to put extra representations due to this demand. Probably more of ‘Troy’ representation will come in the last weeks of November,” he added.
The year of 2018 had been announced as the “Year of Troy” by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry to mark its 20th anniversary of entering UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Hoinic said he had been asked to compose an opera for Troy on the occasion of the “Year of Troy” events. He said he started the piece from scratch and finished it within a “record” time — three-and-a-half months. “It is an epic opera.”
Stating that he worked on Homer’s epic “Iliad” when composing “Troy,” Hoinic said his son Artun wrote the libretto and he composed all the music of the opera during this process.
“We went over a concept in Troy. So instead of the gods in Homer’s Iliad, we handled the real war and life. This way we have created a two-act synthesis in eight scenes. The Iliad is an incredibly long epic. You can make three to four epics out of it. There is so much action in it but we chose to do a synthesis. I think we did well. Troy was born in our land, but its heritage belongs to the entire world. So I thought it was necessary to write a universal music. From this perspective, I blended an ancient civilization with modern music. I used ancient modes, secret maqams and Anatolian rhythms, too,” Hoinic said.
Stating that Troy was a culture, a civilization and has a heritage that survived until today, Hoinic said the opera blended ballet, choir and music.
“It was a great advantage that my son wrote Troy’s libretto. He is also a composer and conductor. This was his first opera libretto. But he knew exactly what I wanted and the fact that we were in the same place provided an incredible advantage in the preparation process. That’s why I was able to finish Troy in three-and-a-half months, or it would have been impossible,” he said.
Hoinic said he had written the librettos himself in previous ballet works but it was very different to compose a Turkish opera. “For the first time a foreign composer wrote a Turkish opera. It is Troy,” he added.
As for the feelings Troy created in him, Hoinic said, “This is a great excitement; something else. Like an archaeologist finding something in the excavations in Troy. Troy is another civilization.”
The world premiere of “Troy” will be made on Nov. 9 by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.