Thursday, 10 June 2010

Aspendos the backdrop for opera classics

">Antalya has become a magnet for culture vultures in recent years. And it’s not hard to see why, when the region’s powers-that-be allow their historical assets to be put to such good use. 

The ancient theatre of Aspendos made a stunning backdrop to a production of Verdi’s opera Aida on Tuesday, as part of the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival. The theatre is one of the best preserved in the world, and is a little under 2000 years old.

Eight events will be performed as part of the festival, which ends on July 1. The next production to show will be tomorrow, with The Three Musketeers performed by the Ankara Opera State and Ballet. Festival-goers can also attend performances of Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Don Juan, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Ravel’s Bolero.

The festival is in its 17th year, and now must compete with a similar event in Istanbul – although of course, the venue is not nearly so impressive.

However, while most agreed that the location of the ballet made for an unforgettable event, one official bemoaned the lack of financial support for the festival. 

State Opera and Ballet General Director Rengim Gökmen said the festival budget has remained the same since it began. The festival costs between 1.5 and 2 million euros to run.

“With magnificent acoustics offered by the Aspendos Ancient Theater and Antalya’s natural beauties, the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival is the most important cultural event in the city,” he said, adding that opera and ballet were the most important symbols of civilization. 

Gökmen has ambitions to make the festival bigger and better every year, and hopes next year to invite the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra to join the programme. He is already seeking sponsors for the event.

“We are proud of this festival and want to organise it with the locals of Antalya.”


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