Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nabucco in Ankara Opera House

Last night, I was in Ankara Opera house to attend Nabucco.

Staging an opera like "Nabucco" (Nebuchadnezzar), a masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi and one of the most glorious pieces in opera history, in Ankara is really painstaking work and requires courage, said Ankara State Opera and Ballet Director Mr Gürçil Çeliktaş in the booklet.

"Nabucco" is Verdi's third opera and the one that gained him a permanent reputation as a composer and is considered to be one of the most glorious operas in terms of costume and stage design, together with Verdi's opera “Aida” and Puccini's "Turandot."

Based on a biblical story, the four-act performance is the story of the destruction of Jerusalem and the plight of the Hebrew slaves in Babylonian captivity during the reign of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, full of passion, romance and political intrigue.

"The best-known number from this opera is Hebrews' Chorus, "Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate" ("Fly, thought, on golden wings"). Music historians have long perpetuated a powerful myth about the famous "Va, pensiero" chorus sung in the third act by the Hebrew slaves. Scholars have long believed the audience, responding with nationalistic fervor to the slave's powerful hymn of longing for their homeland, demanded an encore of the piece. As encores were expressly forbidden by the government at the time, such a gesture would have been extremely significant. However, recent scholarship puts this and the corresponding myth of "Va, pensiero" as the national anthem of the Risorgimento, to rest. Although the audience did indeed demand an encore, it was not for "Va, pensiero" but rather for the hymn "Immenso Jehova," sung by the Hebrew slaves to thank God for saving his people. In light of these new revelations, Verdi's position as the musical figurehead of the Risorgimento has been correspondingly downplayed. Today, "Va, pensiero" is regularly given an encore when performed; interestingly, it is the only encore Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine has ever allowed" says Wikipedia

Ankara Opera House choire was extraordinary last night while singing "Va, pensiero".

Italians mourned at Verdi's grave when he died on Jan. 27, 1901, singing “Va Pensiero” from “Nabucco,” which is be staged in Ankara for the first time last night.

The performance is being put on by Ankara State Opera and Ballet Director Gurcil Celiktas, with a cast of 242. Ankara State Opera and Ballet General Music Director Dario Lucantoni and Sunay Muratov will alternately conduct the opera, with costume and stage design by İsmail Dede.

Celiktas says that the piece is the first composition that gained Verdi a permanent reputation as a composer in the opera world, adding: “The piece will be staged in the capital for the first time. It is one of the most spectacular operas in the world in terms of costume and stage design. It is really a painstaking work that needs courage to stage.” in the booklet.

Stating that the opera had been shown in numerous countries around the world and that they had had difficulty due to the physical requirements of the stage, he said: “The stage is small. We thus tried to match the stage with our huge list of artists in the piece. Moreover, the role of Abigail is one of the most difficult roles in operatic literature. Greek soprano Maria Callas, one of the best-known opera singers of the post-World War II period, once said that the role pushed the limits of the human voice and was too emotional and that she wouldn't perform it again, after doing so in 1949 for the first and last time.”

“The leading role of Nabucco, on the other hand, requires a strong and sensitive voice. We tried to be faithful to the original form and text of the piece. I hope the Ankara audience will like the performance,” said Celiktas in the booklet.

Eralp KIYICI, Metin Turan, Ünüşan Kuloğlu, Bülent Ateşoğlu, Tuncay Kurtoğlu, Mithat Karakelle, Nilgün Akkerman, Reyhan Görbil, Şebnem Algın are some of the artists who will be performing.

I feel that I need to go to Ankara Opera House multiple times in order to understand and appreciate the beauty of Nabucco. I plan to be there on 29th Dec 2006 once again. 13th and 20th January 2007 are the dates for the next performances.

1 comment:

mitimu said...