Tuesday, February 20, 2007
"Leyla & Mecnun," from Sufi poet Fuzuli's renowned masnavi (a poetic spiritual work) is due to debut on Feb. 21 with İskender Pala's modern theatrical interpretation, featuring selections from both classical and modern music.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is due to attend the premiere in Istanbul.
The première of the musical tragedy, directed by Ali Taygun, will be staged at the Muhsin Ertuğrul Sahnesi with music composed by Yalçın Tura. Taygun told the Anatolia news agency that they had produced a new form of music by combining Turkish folk dances, Turkish Sufi music, classical music and ballet.
Taygun said they started to prepare for the play in November and that it will feature the biggest cast ever to perform at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Theaters.
"This musical play features professionals and instruments from traditional and modern styles. This play has a significant characteristic: We met and worked with people of different institutions and worldviews in order to present the language, poetry and philosophy of Fuzuli. This cooperation increased our love and respect for each other because this work is all about love, and it increased love in our hearts. This play combines the old with the modern."
‘Semah and Dhikr both exist in the play’
"The musical aspect is distinct. It has motifs from classical Turkish music and Western classical music, too. They are played as polyphonic but they were all composed in the modes of classical Turkish music. This work is the first of its kind in Turkey and is a big innovation."
Taygun said that more than 40 musicals were going to be performed in the play.
"Instrumental and choral songs will be performed. We created a new form by combining Turkish folk dances, Turkish Sufi music, classical music and ballet. We produced something completely new with their inspiration. We tried to reflect everything in our culture."
"We are presenting a classical text, a work by a Turkish poet who lived shortly before Shakespeare and who is almost totally unknown except for a few quatrains," Taygun said, explaining they were aiming to reintroduce Fuzuli through the play.
Taygun said that the play may be performed abroad: "We cooked the dish and we can't predict who will want to eat it."
"We are going to play it at state theaters for six weeks, until May 1. We have not determined any further program after that. In the summer, we might possibly play in an open-air theater. In addition, we have received many invitations from abroad, but these will be evaluated after the debut".
Taygun's priority is to succeed first in Turkey. "Our main target population is Turkish viewers, but another priority to perform it abroad."
The musical tragedy was derived from Fuzuli's Masnavi, written in 1535*.
Its debut is due on Feb. 21 on Muhsin Ertuğrul Sahnesi in Harbiye.
Décor and costumes were designed by Ali Cem Köroğlu, lighting by Önder Baykul, choreography by Pınar Ataer and dramaturgy by Tarık Günersel.
The chorus leader is Gökçen Koray and the orchestra conductor is Erdem Çöloğlu.
A team of 80 professionals includes singers, dancers, theater and ballet professionals and masters of traditional Ottoman theater (meddah).
*[for more about Fuzuli, the Ottoman Poet (d. 1556 A.D.), and his rendering in Azeri Turkish of the classical tale of Lajla and Majnoon, see: http://www.poetry-portal.com/poets22.html]