By Demetra George Mustafaoglu……..
Sunday night after a performance in Famagusta, the Turksoy Opera days moved to the Bellapais Abbey stage and opened the concert with two wonderful pieces by the home grown Presidential Orchestra under the masterful Baton of our own Maestro Ali Hoca. The event was dedicated to the recently deceased Cemaliye Kılıcı, a Turkish Cypriot mezzo who starred with the Ankara State Opera and was a true driving force in the opera world of this region.
Düşen Kaseinov, head of Turksoy, was invited to the stage by the excellent announcer of the evening, Hatice Kerimgil and welcomed all to the 19th year of The Turksoy Opera Days, spoke of the great artist that was lost and the bright future ahead for the group. Then Minister of Education and Culture Ozdemir Berova welcomed the audience to this yearly beloved event.
The first piece was the well-known “Adagio” by Albinoni orchestrated specially for this performance with strings and organ. This very romantic music has lasted through time and is so loved that it has even been made into a popular love song. Then “Symphony No: 1 in D Major Part 1” by Haydn which had the audience swaying. Hoca definitely loves what he does and is a master at it.
Next a powerful team of vocal artists including our own 20 year old Emre Özarabacı from Cyprus showered us in song. He is studying at the Ankara State Conservatory graduate level. His rendition of Arap Ali Elegie in Turkish was truly appreciated by the native speakers but he shone most brightly with his Italian Mozart Aria “Se vuol Ballare” and our community should support his efforts. He has a bright future ahead of him. Can’t wait to hear him sing the Diamond aria from Hoffmann when he’s matured.
We were treated to many artists who sang very well but there were definite favourites of this audience.
A seasoned pair of artists from Saha Yakut/Russian Federation kicked a goal with the Count and Lenora’s duet from IL Trovatore by Verdi. Passion, fire, love and cadenzas showed this pair off nicely and brought the first finely honed singing of the night.
Playfully the artist from Kazakistan, Ms. Kabanova charmed the audience with The Doll aria from Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach replite with breaking down and key winding, much to the thrill of the audience. It is a very difficult piece.
Tenor Huseyin Likos of Turkey broke hearts with a moving rendition of Puccini’s love/farewell aria from TOSCA entitled “E Lucevan le Stelle” stealing hearts from the audience. Another audience favourite was Azeri artist Azer Zeynalov whose lilting voice cried out Sene de Kalmaz and he too drew raves from the crowd.
Maestro Hoca presented his delicious composition Bandabuliya ve Lefkoşa Sirtosu with his lively young orchestra and wowed the spectators with the sounds, sights and smells of the old market place. Approval was met with a short encore and then the group closed with the well known drinking song from La Traviata by Verdi and even made us laugh by switching partners in fun.
The artists were supported by very proficient pianists: Irina Kurguzkina of Kazakistan and Yulia Bapova of Turkey.
I had the pleasure of representing KKTC in a last minute Turksoy concert and came to know and love this group and their goals. I am hoping that on their 20th anniversary next year we can also host them for American audiences to enjoy!
To hear what a wonderful occasion it was, please play the audio recording below.
Respectfully Demetra George Mustafaoglu, Grammy List Nominee in Classical Music and Cultural Diplomacy Award.