Sunday, January 14, 2007


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's “Idomeneo,” the opera which caused a debate when it premiered at Deutsche Oper, a Berlin opera house, in late 2006, had its Turkey premiere last month at the Izmir Opera House. The Izmir State Opera and Ballet performs the three-act opera accompanied by the orchestra under the baton of musical director Winfried Müller. The opera, which Mozart is believed to have said was his favorite, is based on an epic story titled “The Aeneid” written by Publius Virgilius Maro (70 B.C.-A.D.19), which centers on the Trojan War. It is set in Crete in about 1,200 B.C. The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, which had been set to music by André Campra as “Idoménée” in 1712. In Izmir Opera House, the director is Mehmet Ergüven and the set design belongs to Tayfun Cebi, while costumes were designed by Sevda Aksakoglu. In the leading roles are Arda Dogan, Aytul Buyuksarac, Birgul Su Aric, Linet Saul, Ahmet Baykara and Oguz Çimen. Deutsche Oper's revival of “Idomeneo” featured a scene in which the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha were beheaded by Idomeneo, and this caused fears of backlash among the Muslim community in Europe and thus the opera house decided to cancel the production. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the production to be staged by highlighting the dangers of “self-censorship out of fear.” The play was performed in December in Berlin and the German police stated that they saw no threat in terms of security. In the Opera booklet, IZDOB director Alparslan Mater said in a statement that “Idomeneo” actually was set in the 12th century B.C. and the Deutsche Oper rendition was based on the director's interpretation. Furthermore he said the IZDOB would stick to the original plot. Mater said the opera's main message was that “anybody who fights back against the divine force should be ready to pay a price for this, sooner or later.”

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