Triumphant “Turandot” at the opening of the 10th Istanbul Opera International Festival on 2nd and 3rd July 2019


Organized by the Culture and Tourism Ministry State Opera and Ballet General Directorate, the Opera International Festival of Istanbul celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and continue until July 14 at the Istanbul Zorlu Performing Arts Center (PSM).

Popolo di Pechino
Elegant Umut Kosman as the Mandarin

Opening the Festival, the Ankara State Opera and Ballet presented  “Turandot”, the last opera of Giacomo Puccini on July 2 and 3.

La sconfitta di Turandot
Lilla Lee (Turandot) recognises her defeat in front of her father, the Emperor Altoum ( Cem Akyùz)

Staged by famous Italian guest director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, the leading role in “Turandot” opera was performed by Korean soloist Lilla Lee on July 2 and Kazakh soloist Zhupar Gabdullina on July 3.

Efe Kislali & Lilla Lee

The Prömiyer was a great success and the Korean Turandot Lilla Lee was very much appreciated by the audience, as well as the delicate sensituìivity of yourg Conductor, Maestro Murat Cem Orhan.

Ping Pang Pong
Wonderful Ping (çetin Kiranbay), Pang (Emre Akkus) and Pong (Arda Dogan)

Needless to say that Tenor Efe Kislali as Calaf was requested to sing once again the famous aria “Nessun Dorma” and was triumphally celebrated, as well as Tugba Mankal Dekak and Seda Araci Ayazli (Liù), together with Şafak Güç and Ozgür Savaş Gençtürk, fantastic Timur !

Morte di Liù
Liù’s Death

As reported by the cultural autorities of Kazakhstan, “Vocal skills, beauty, and power of voice, bright acting talent of sought-after opera singer Zhupar Gabdullina are widely known to the audience in many countries. Most recently, the Principal Soloist performed with great success in Turkey at the opening of the anniversary 10th International Istanbul Festival of Opera and Ballet, where she presented the title role of Turandot in Giacomo Puccini’s eponymous opera. There was not a single empty seat in the concert hall Zorlu PSM Studio, designed for 2500 viewers. Turkish viewers gave a standing ovation to the Kazakh artist.”

James Lee and Lilla Lee

The Korean tenor, James Lee was also highly appreciated by the Zorlu audience and the clamourous success of Turandot was celebrated until late that night by all artists of the Ankara State Opera and Ballet and their guests.


To be noted the wonderful lights of Fuat Gök and the exceptional participation of the Ankara National Ballet.




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Turandot Curtain Call 2nd July 2019


16th March 2019: TURANDOT’s successful return at Ankara State Opera and Ballet

On 16th March 2019, Ankara State Opera and Ballet presented “Turandot”, the absolute masterpiece of Giacomo Puccini in a new production, with Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini as Stage Director and Maestro Antonio Pirolli as Conductor.

Turandot Locandina


The two Maestros, long-term friends, remembered with emotion their first “Turandot” together some 19 years ago in the same Opera Theatre, with Soprano Nilgun Akkerman.


Under the impulsion of the new Director General of Turkish State Opera and Ballet, brilliant Tenor Murat Karahan who called back both Conductor and Stage Director to set up again a fairy tale style production, the actual resurrection of opera the way we like it, a fantastic evening opened up to the notes of Puccini’s last work…

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The somptuous costumes of Savaş Camgöz, the magnificent sets of Özgür Usta and the magic lights of Fuat Gök have definitely given the performance the utmost touch of glamour. The public was enthusiastic and the applause at the end lasted more than fifteen minutes.

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Mehlika Karadeniz Bilgin, who incarnated a very special Turandot, with her cristalline voice, declared about the production : “The work exposes how Turandot, the princess who doesn’t believe in love and hates men, gets to know love. It is the inner travel of a woman finding herself and a fight between her brain and heart. In fact, Turandot is the fight between the bad and the good,”


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Explaining that the mystic and the mysterious side of the Far East are reflected on the opera, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini said, “It portrays the inner conflicts of Princess Turandot and her fight with love.” Moreover, his classical and royal style given to the elegant stage direction confered to the opera the real sense of what opera should be on such an important stage as the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.

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On another hand, the sincere friendship between Maestro Pirolli and Maestro Grisostomi Travaglini could be felt as their arts coincided in putting together the virtuosity of music tightly-knit with the respect of Puccini’s will to render solemnity and human research for truth and love. The climax was during the famous moment of Liù’s death, when the emotions reach the vibrations of everyone’s heart.


This exceptional production was also possible thanks to the participation of incredibly talented soloists such as  Mehlika Karadeniz Bilgin, Perihan Nayır Artan, Murat Karahan, Aykut Çınar, Efe Kışlalı, Cem Akyüz, Özgür Savaş Gençtürk, Şafak Güç, Esin Talınlı, Tuğba Mankal Dekak, Seda Aracı Ayazlı, Tuncer Tercan, Çetin Kıranbay, Emre Uluocak, Kamil Kaplan, Arda Doğan, İbrahim Halil Turgut, Barış Yanç and Emre Akkuş… and all the artists of the Ankara State Opera Koro, under the direction of Maestro Giampaolo Vessella.


A special mention for Çetin Kıranbay, Barış Yanç and Arda Doğan, unforgettable Ping, Pang and Pong whose stage plays fabulously funny and “grotesque” as originally described by Puccini was one of the greatest moments of the performance.

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Çetin Kıranbay, Barış Yanç and Arda Doğan, unforgettable Ping, Pang and Pong

I must also recognise that one of the magic elements of this Turandot was the use of the Ankara State Ballet. Both men and women dancers were absolutely smashing and gave a dynamic to special moments, like the Pu Ting Pao appearances, which was unique.

Not to forget anyone, here are the names of this impressive cast for my favourite version of “TURANDOT” ever …





To be noted the presence in the audience, Enrico Stinchelli, a famous Italian radio conductor, special guest of Ankara State Opera and Ballet, who actually enjoyed the performance.


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Together with Maestro Antonio Pirolli & Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini
Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, between Umut Yasar, Director Assistant and Boran Savran, Staging Assistant…. and me !







25° edizione del Festival Internazionale di Aspendos: TURANDOT, Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini firma il nuovo allestimento del capolavoro pucciniano

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“Suggestioni anatoliche per la Cina Imperiale di Turandot: Aspendos, Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini firma il nuovo allestimento del capolavoro pucciniano”, articolo di Francesco Germinario nel numero di Ottobre 2018 di “L’Opera International Magazine”

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Turkish translation:

Turandot’un Çin İmparatorluğu için Anadolu İlhamları
Francesco Germinario, L’Opera Dergisi
Traduzione – çeviri: Suna Ertekin
Aspendos: Vincenzo Travaglini Grisostomi, Puccini’nin başyapıtının yeniden sahneye koyuluşunu imzalıyor.

25. Uluslararsı Aspendos Festivali’nde büyük opera Turandot gösterişli yeni bir prodüksiyonla geri dönüyor.

Geçtiğimiz Ocak ayından itibaren aralarında Aspendos, İstanbul ve Efes’in de olduğu birçok festivaller düzenleyen Türkiye Devlet Opera ve Balesi Genel Müdürlüğüne uluslararası üne sahip opera şarkıcısı Murat Karahan atandı ve hemen Türkiye’deki müzikal/opera kültürüne yeni bir nabız katmak istedi.

Yeni yönetimin en anlamlı sonuçları arasında Turandot’un bu edisyonunu buluyoruz, bu eser tarihi “Antik Tiyatro”ya 18 yıl sonra geri döndü.

Tarihi Anadolu’nun Opera ve Balesi’nin en iyi kaynaklarının bir araya geldiği görkemli bir sahneleme, özellikle Ankara Operası, Orkestrası ve Korosuna Antalya Devlet Operası’nın korosunun koro şefleri Giampaolo Vassella ve Mahir Seyrek ile, Balenin ve Sinem Seçil Battal tarafından yönetilen çocuk korosunun katılımıyla gerçekleşti; eseri İstanbul ve İzmir’i de içeren Türkiye’nin çeşitli realitelerinin en iyi şan solistleri seslendirdiler. Dev bir organizasyon ve teknik ekip sayesinde gerçekleştirilen bu prodüksiyon Aspendos Festivalini haberlere çıkma şerefine eriştirdi. Çeşitli kurumların temsilcileri arasında Kültür ve Turizm Bakanı Mehmet Nuri Ersoy da vardı, temsil sonunda sahneye çıkarak sanatçılara çiçek verip tebriklerini sundu. Aspendos antik çağlardan kalan en iyi tiyatro sayılmaktadır, mimar Zenon tarafından Marcus Aurelius için M.S. 161 ve 180 yılları arasında inşa ettirilmiştir; antik tiyatro bu temsille “güçlü” bir şekilde yeniden gözler önüne çıktı diyebiliriz.

Rejisörlüğü, bugün olduğu gibi bu prodüksiyonla 2000 yılında da çok başarı kazanan Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini üstlendi. Orkestra Şefliğini maestro Alberto Veronesi yaptı.

Şan grubunda başlıca rolleri soprano Perihan Diyana Nayır Artan güçlü ve aynı zamanda şık bir Turandot olarak, tenor Murat Karahan güçlü, sağlam ve cömert tenor sesiyle Calaf olarak, “Nessun dorma”yı kaçırılmayacak “bis” ile seslendirdi; aynı rolü geçtiğimiz sezon Verona Arenası’nda büyük başarı ile seslendirmişti ve Aspendos greko-romen tiyatrosunda da zafer kazandı. Şancılar arasında, Festivalin bu açılışı için, Devlet Operası’nın çeşitli müdürlüklerinden öne çıkan en anlamlı sesler görevlendirildi, Seda Aracı Ayazlı’nın duygu dolu Liù rolü ve Teyfik Rodos’un şık Timur rolü beğeni kazandı. Canlı, sahneye katılım gösteren ve dikkat çeken üç bakan rollerinde Ping rolünü üstlenen Murat Duyan, Pang ve Pong rollerinde Tankut Eşber ve Serkan Taylan vardı. Şan grubunu İmparator Altum rolünde Lorenzo Mok Arranz, Nejat Beğde ve Serkan Sarıkaya tamamladı.

Özgür Usta’nın dekorları heybetliydi; Savaş Camgöz’ün değerli kumaşlarla ve özenle seçilen renklerle gerçekleştirdiği her türden aksesuarların kullanıldığı kostümleri çok güzeldi, tarih ve fantazi arasında, Yunan trajedisi stilinde “oyulmuş” maskelerle masalımsı uzak Çin İmparatorluğu sahnede daha önce hiç bu kadar öne çıkmamıştı. Özellikle Armağan Davran’ın koreografileri özenle çalışılmıştı, Pu-Tin-Pao’nun hizmetkârları erkek balesinin enerjik dansından başka Uzak Doğu geleneğine göre düzenlenen ve finaldeki sofistike “çiçekli kızlar” dansı çok etkiliydi. Fuat Gök’ün ışık düzeni güzeldi. Kalabalık ve heyecanlı seyirci, tribünleri doldurarak iyi kalitenin her zaman kazanacağını kanıtladı.

XXVth Aspendos International Festival: An absolute triumph for Turandot of Giacomo Puccini

Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan

On Tuesday 4th September 2018 was released a marvellous “Turandot” at XXVth Aspendos International Festival in Turkey.

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Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan

Following the impulsion of the newly nominated Director General of Turkish Opera Theatres and Ballet, young and already famous Tenor Murat Karahan, “Turandot” has come back on Aspendos stage after eighteen years.

“Nessun dorma” by Tenor Murat Karahan, Director General of the Opera Theatres of Turkey (Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan)

Last time, in 2000, Ankara’s Opera called Maestro Antonio Pirolli to be the conductor and Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini to assume the stage direction with the fantastic Nilgun Akkerman as Turandot and it was already a success.

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This year, the choice of Maestro Alberto Veronesi as conductor, united with the return of Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini for the stage direction, indicates clearly the will of the Director General of the Turkish Opera to express with magnificent emphasis his taste for the genuine essence of art and music at its utmost level.

Maestro Alberto Veronesi
Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini

In the grandiose settings of Aspendos Antique Theatre, the best singers of Turkey were called to give life to the ultimate characters of Giacomo Puccini. The brilliant cast included Perihan Diana Nayir Artan as Princess Turandot, Murat Karahan as Prince Calaf, Lorenzo Mok Arranz as Emperor Altom, Teyfik Rodos as Timur, Seda Araci Ayazli as Liu, Murat Duyan as Ping, Tankut Esber as Pang, Serkan Teylan as Pong, Nejad Begde as one Mandarin and Serkan Sarikaya in the role of the Prince of Persia.

Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan

The lovely sets were signed by Ozgur Usta and the beautiful costumes by Savas Camgoz. To be noted the elegant choreography of Amagan Davran and the inspiring light designing of Fuat Gok.

Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan

The combination between the brio and sensitivity of Maestro Veronesi together with the supreme harmony of the royal court, rendered in a rich and colourful manner by Maestro Grisostomi Travaglini has reached its climax in this particularly difficult opera of Puccini. The audience was definitely convinced and the long ovation at the end of the performance was just the confirmation of the enthusiasm, already expressed when Murat Karahan was warmly invited to sing “Nessun dorma” a second time !

Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan

Last but not least, the incredible honour the artists were granted by His Excellency Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, when he went on stage to congratulate all of them with a bunch of white flowers in sign of gratitude for their art and work.

Final Curtain Call (Photo credits: Yusuf Emre Turan)

Many thanks to Official photographer Yusuf Emre Turan who did marvellous pictures of this enchanting evening.