Turkish opera’s great master, composer, and conductor Okan Demiriş’s ‘Murat IV’ opera will meet Istanbul audience on July 23

The Antalya State Opera and Ballet (DOB) will perform “Murat IV” opera, revolving around the life story of Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, as part of the 13th International Istanbul Opera Festival, the first opera festival held across the sea in the world. The performance will take place at the Open Air Stage of the Haliç Congress Center on July 23 at 9 p.m.

“Murat IV,” by the great master of Turkish opera, composer, and conductor Okan Demiriş, who passed away in 2010, is about the mysterious life of the palace and the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, who was only 11-12 years old when enthroned. Engin Suna will play the role of Sultan Murad while Arzu Yaman will appear in the role of Sultan Murad’s mother Kösem Sultan, and Umut Tarık Akça in the role of Grand Vizier Topal Recep Pasha.

A view from a representation of ‘Murat IV’ opera. Photo from the original article.

Özgür Usta has prepared the decor design of the three-act opera, the costume design is by Gazal Erten, and the lighting design is by Mustafa Eski. The libretto of the work belongs to Turan Oflazoğlu. It will be presented to the audience by Haldun Özörten with a directorial understanding that integrates with the decor and costume.

After its world premiere in Istanbul on May 3, 1980, the “Murat IV” Opera met Turkish and international audiences nearly 200 times as a sold-out performance. In its world premiere at Istanbul’s Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) under the direction of Demiriş, Mustafa Iktu and soprano Leyla Demiriş took the stage in the roles of Sultan Murad and Kösem Sultan, respectively.

Composer Demiriş, who created works to bring the public together with opera, took an important place in the cultural history in terms of the formation of the national Turkish opera with his works that establish a comfortable dialogue with the audience. In addition to being an outstanding example of the Turkish Opera repertoire, Demiriş’s “Murat IV” covers a significant period of conquests in Ottoman history.

Sultan Murad, who ruled for several years through the regency of his mother Kösem Sultan and a series of grand viziers, was the 17th ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Despite his poet and composer personality, Sultan Murad could take on a heavy-handed identity when necessary in order to regulate the social turmoil. He ascended to the throne at a young age so he bowed to the pressures of his mother Kösem Sultan for a long time. These pressures, combined with his poetic nature and cruel identity, caused great storms in his inner world.

When the sultan came of age, he slowly took over the reins. He put an end to prevailing lawlessness and rebelliousness in the empire. Conducting one of the most magnificent campaigns in history, Sultan Murad IV is known as the “conqueror of Baghdad.” The well-educated sultan, who was also interested in science and music, died at the age of 28, after battling gout for five years.

In the opera, the Janissaries and Sipahi rebels, under the auspices of Topal Recep Pasha, use the dismissal of Hüsrev Pasha as an excuse and raid the Topkapı Palace. Calling Sultan Murad to an urgent meeting, the rebels want to see the sultan face to face and ask him to give some of the state notables to them.

A view from a representation of ‘Murat IV’ opera. Photo from original article.

Upon this meeting, Sultan Murad dismisses Grand Vizier Hafiz Pasha but does not consent to his murder. Topal Recep Pasha, the leader of the uprising, is made grand vizier under the pressure of the rebels. Kösem Sultan collaborates Recep Pasha on the other hand. When the rebels want the sultan to give the former grand vizier Hafız Pasha to them, Murad tells the pasha to run away. But Hafız Pasha refuses to escape in order not to leave the sultan in a difficult position. Entrusting his children to the sultan, the pasha sacrifices himself.

Recep Pasha negotiates with Kösem Sultan to dethrone Sultan Murad. Kösem Sultan also agrees to this but stipulates that her other son Şehzade (Prince) Kasım should ascend to the throne instead of Murad.

The tickets for “Murat IV” can be purchased through @biletinial.


This article was originally published in The Daily Sabah on 13 July 2022 and has been reposted with permission. To read the original article, click here.

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