Monday, November 16, 2009

‘Aida' returns to Ankara Opera House

The classic opera “Aida” is set to return to the Turkish capital after a 13-year absence during which time it was staged annually at Antalya's Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.

A new production of Giuseppe Verdi's 1871 classic will open this Saturday at the Ankara Opera House, the Anatolia news agency reported.

A 250-strong cast and crew from the Ankara State Opera and Ballet (ADOB) are currently putting the final touches on the production, which will be directed by Italian stage director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini.

Travaglini, who from 2000 to 2002 headed ADOB as general manager, will be joined by maestro Rengim Gökmen, the current head of ADOB, in the orchestra pit, conducting the Ankara State Opera Orchestra during the performance.

The costumes and sets were designed by veteran ADOB set designer Savaş Camgöz, who also designed the costumes and sets for previous productions of “Aida” 14 years ago. The set and costumes used in the Aspendos production are currently being tailored to fit the smaller Ankara Opera House stage, Camgöz told Anatolia on Monday.

This grand opera, famous throughout the world for its glorious second act, has four acts that will be made “even more magnificent with a new lighting design we're currently working on for this season's Ankara run,” Camgöz said. He stated that the modern and aesthetic lighting design will make the performance “more impressive.”

The next staging of “Aida” by the Ankara Opera is scheduled for Nov. 14.

20.10.2009 Arts & Culture TODAY'S ZAMAN

Chagall’s Colors of Love


ISTANBUL - When the wintry wind and rain descend on Istanbul, it’s great to head indoors for a dose of warmth, color and even romance. All three can be found at the recently opened exhibit, “Marc Chagall: Life and Love,” at the Pera Museum (Mesrutiyet Caddesi No. 65; 90-212-334-99-00;; closed on Mondays).

The exhibition, which marks the first time that works by the Russian-born modernist have been displayed in Turkey, includes paintings, drawings and prints, 160 of which are on loan from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

In addition to Chagall’s typically color-saturated paintings (”When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is,” Pablo Picasso reportedly remarked in the ’50s), there are etchings he made for books written by his wife, Bella, including tales of their own romance, as well as drawings he made to illustrate an edition of the Old Testament, which he called “the greatest source of poetry of all time.”

The exhibition runs through Jan. 24. The Pera is a relatively small museum, but be sure to allow enough time for a snack at the in-house Pera Café, where the menu includes seasonal chill-chasers like pumpkin-walnut ravioli and hot mulled wine.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bonding With Grandparents

If you've ever turned to your parents or your partner's parents for help and support with child-rearing, you know how wonderful grandparents can be. Although physical distance and parenting differences can come between grandparents, their children, and their grandchildren, encouraging a close relationship can benefit everyone involved.

The Benefits of Bonding With Grandparents

Establishing a bond with grandparents can benefit kids in many ways. Grandparents can be great role models and influences, and they can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grandparents provide their grandkids with love, have their best interests at heart, and can make them feel safe. Grandparents also encourage a child's healthy development. Overnight trips to Grandma's house, for example, may be less traumatic than sleepovers with peers and can help kids develop independence. Another benefit — grandparents may have lots of time to spend playing and reading to kids. Such dedicated attention only improves a child's developmental and learning skills.

Tips for Staying in Touch

In today's world, though, families may be scattered across the country, and jam-packed school and work schedules may interfere with regular time with grandparents. Despite physical distance or busy schedules, you can encourage your kids to develop a closer bond with their grandparents. Try these tips:

Visit often. If your child's grandparents live nearby, make an effort to carve time out of your busy schedule for regular visits. Encourage grandparents to drop by your home, too. Plan regular trips to see out-of-town grandmas and grandpas. Even if visits are infrequent, anticipating and planning the next trip can help your child regard that time as special.

Stay in touch with technology. Use the telephone and email to talk, write, and send pictures and sound files of your kids to grandparents. If they don't own a computer, send videos of the kids in action. Or have a grandparent record a reading of a favorite story and play it for your child at bedtime.

Say cheese. Post snapshots of grandparents in your home and point them out to your kids often. Or keep family pictures in a special photo album and page through it while naming the family members.

Sound mail call. Kids love receiving mail. So send grandparents a box of stationery and postcards and some stamps and ask them to write regularly. Another way to encourage communication is to have your child write letters every week on the same day — both kids and grandparents will anticipate the regular communication.

Pass it on. Many grandparents have hobbies or special skills — such as knitting, woodworking, or cooking — that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren. Provide kids with the time and tools needed to learn these skills from their grandparents.

Chart a family tree. Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives. Encourage grandparents to share stories of their families. You can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart the family tree.

Safety Away From Home

Whether grandparents live nearby or you're planning to visit, don't forget to make safety a priority. Grandparents may not be accustomed to having young kids in the house, and the presence of household dangers could mar visits with trips to the emergency room.

Use a household safety checklist and collaborate with the grandparents to childproof the home, ensuring that dangerous items and substances — such as cleaning products, medications, razors, and knives — are out of reach or locked in a cabinet. Consider walking through the home with the grandparents to address any potential safety hazards. They may not realize that small or breakable items pose a choking or safety risk.

Taking these precautions ahead of time can free kids and grandparents to make the most of their special time together.

by: Steven Dowshen, MD, May 2009