Two premieres by Istanbul State Opera and Ballet

Two premieres by Istanbul State Opera and Ballet

Two premieres by Istanbul State Opera and Ballet


The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet (IDOB) gave the premieres of “Apollo and Daphne” cantata and the Turkish ballet “Judith” on May 30 at the Kadıköy Municipality Süreyya Opera Stage. 

Speaking about the event, IDOB Director and Art Director Suat Arıkan said they gave premieres at a time when art institutions were closed for summer holiday, noting that two different works were brought together in the same event. 

“We brought together both opera and ballet audiences. We performed a work written in cantata form but not in opera form by the composer Georg Friedrich Handel. We also performed a ballet work by a young composer, Çetin Işıközlü,” Arıkan said. 

Deiz Özaydın created the choreography for “Judith,” which is the only Turkish ballet in the word repertoire and which was staged in Istanbul for the first time in 45 years. The orchestra conductor was Zdravko Lazarov. 

Speaking about the work, Özaydın noted that “Judith” is the story of a female hero from the Old Testament. 

“It is a story that has been dealt with in various art branches throughout history. During my research, I was impressed by Caravaggio’s painting ‘Michelangelo Merisi da.’ The painting was both my source of inspiration and the factor that led my choreography. In other artworks ‘Judith’ has been mostly featured as strong, coldblooded and determined. But I imagined her as emotional, fragile and humanistic, and Işıközlü’s music contributed to that,” he said. 

In the ballet, Bergu Elmas is Judith while Batur Büklü is Holofernes and Melike Koper is Abra. 

‘Apollo and Daphne’ cantata staged for the first time in Turkey

In Handel’s “Apollo and Daphne” cantata, Cengiz Arslan portrays Apollo and Ayşe Sinema Eksioğlu portrays Daphne. Turan Manafzde is responsible for the music of the play, which is directed by Doğan Çelik. 

“The work is performed as a concert but for the first time in Turkey, as IDOB, we staged this work as an opera work,” Çelik said, adding that the play is set in the southern border province of Hatay’s Çağlayanlar region.