A sparkling “Carmen” for the opening of the XXVIth Aspendos Opera International Festival, 1st September 2019

The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet opened the XXVIth edition of Aspendos Opera International Festival on 1st September 2019 wth a new production of French masterpiece “Carmen” of Georges Bizet, under the direction of Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini.


With the help of set designer Zeki Sarayoğlu, who created on purpose an inspiring view of a “plaza” in Seville, the somptuous costumes of Ayşegül Alev and Gizem Betil, the Italian director has set up a dynamic and very rich staging to offer us a very special re-visitation of the myth of Carmen.


The exceptional participation of the first dancers of the Istanbul State Ballet, with a special choreography by Maestro Ayşem Sunal Savaşkurt has given to this production a touch of glamour and elegance which has definitely convinced the international audience of Aspendos Festival.



The Antalya Orchestra was put under the direction of young and talented Bulgarian Conductor, Zdravko Lazarov, who casts a spell on the audience with his lightness and subtle way of rendering the difficult scores of Bizet into a very delightful and personal expression.


The cast gathered the best artists of Istanbul Opera together with guest singers, whose beauty and charms were as fascinating as their ability to act and sing at the utmost level. Yulia Mazurova interpreted Carmen with such powerful sensuality and wild carnal appetite, whereas Anastasia Boldyreva offered us a more rebel image of the gypsy lady, a mysterious witch with a clear feeling of superiority towards her poor male victims.


Don José was well served by both Efe Kislali and Ali Murat Erengül in two different but always elegant and emotioning interpretations. The rest of the cast was absolutely at the same level of participation and enthusiasm, which is a clear sign of optimism for the future of lyric art in Turkey.



Micaela, sober and romantic as ever, by both Bilge Yılmaz and Gülbin Günai and a spontaneous and youthful Escamillo by Murat Güney. The rest of the cast, Anna Sirel Yakupoğlu (Frasquita) ed Elif Tuba Tekışık (Mércèdes); Alp Köksal (Le Dancaïre) e Onur Turan (Le Remendado); Göktuğ Alpaşar (Zuniga) e Utku Bayburt (Moralés): all tremendously beautiful and gifted either for singing, acting or dancing.


The choir was magistrally directed by Maestro Paolo Villa from Istanbul, having included some elements of Antalya Opera Choir, who studied under the direction of Maestro Mahir Seyrek.



A special mention for the lovely children of the choir of the Antalya Opera, precise and so cute, under the direction of  Maestro Sinem S. Baddal.


Last but not least, the fabulous lighting design by Giovanni Pirandello, who expressed with colourful and intense brightness the passionate states of mind through which Carmen led us soflty and swiftly towards the tragic end, announced since the beginning with the theme of fate, so dear to Bizet’s heart.




My grateful thanks to Emre Turan and Murat Durum for the beautiful pictures.

One thought on “A sparkling “Carmen” for the opening of the XXVIth Aspendos Opera International Festival, 1st September 2019

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