Demetra George Mustafaoğlu and Peri Bektasoglu
April 23rd 2016 in the I Belli Italian restaurant in the TRNC presented its first ever OPERA PRIMA, Pasta, Puccini and more. It was a marvellous menu of octopus salad, marinated fresh salmon, buffalo mozzarella, roasted artichokes, Arancini Siciliani and stuffed peppers Alla Napolitano. Asparagus and Saffron Risotto with King Prawns Bisque and a Parmesan wafer came next to excite the palate, then beautiful Beef Fillet Medallions in three Pepper Sauce. Crowning glory was the I Belli Pablova to greet the star of the night Grammy List Nominee International Soprano Demetra George Mustafaoğlu.
In a dazzling hot coral gown by Turkish Cypriot couturier of international fame Rasit Bagzibagli, Demetra treated the full house to arias from Puccini’s best-La Rondine, Gianni Schicci, Tosca, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly and even Phantom of the Opera.
In her usual fashion, Demetra introduced a protégée, this year’s ESK student 10 year old Peri Bektasoglu daughter of Ece Sualp, made her first debut. performing Broadway’s best from Les Miserable’s, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific. She even learned the aria O Mio Babbino Caro too so she could offer her own Puccini before she had pasta!!
Both were a big hit and how could they not be as Maestro extraordinaire Rauf Kasimov lent his artful accompaniment to them both and even played many Italian favourites through the evening.
After Peri, Demetra surprised Chef/owner Emigliano Rondoni with the Italian Street Song and tambourine from his home town of Napoli, then the Godfather Theme and The Prayer dedicated to the children whose special day it was.
Katerina Rondoni made everyone feel at home and introduced the charming Italian Ambassador, the Honourable Guido Cerboni and family from Italy, to guests and artists. Also in attendance was the president of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Fikri Toros and Beril Oztunali and Demetra’s husband, Mehmet Mustafaoğlu, the Honoury Representative from Cyprus to Los Angeles and many dear local friends.
Peri Bektasoglu made her first debut performance at I Belli in preparation for a workshop and performance audition in Istanbul on May 6th where she passed with flying colours and huge applause from her peers and adjudicators and she will now be a part of the group that will represent Turkey in Paris for UNICEF in 2017!
On the anniversary of her US Cultural Diplomacy Award from the State Department, we find Demetra flying back to the States as she prepares a gala concert as resident soprano for Nevada Opera Theatre Association in Las Vegas. July holds a concert in the south for CVAR and August begins production rehearsals in Istanbul for the UNICEF 2017 concert.