April 06, 2011

Da Vinci's Bridge Dream Comes True in Istanbul

Leonardo da Vinci’s dream of building a magnificent bridge over Istanbul’s Golden Horn is finally coming true, in opera and in real life, 500 years after the great Italian artist suggested it to the Ottoman sultan.


U.S. composer Daniel Nazareth has written an opera based on Leonardo’s vision while Turkish architect Hakan Kıran has begun working to build the bridge the artist imagined over the Golden Horn, also known as the Haliç.

Five centuries ago, Leonardo wrote a letter to the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, suggesting the world’s biggest and most magnificent bridge be built over the Istanbul waterway. His letter, ignored by palace officials at the time, was discovered in the archives of Topkapı Palace in 1950.

Nazareth told the Anatolia news agency that he decided to compose the opera after hearing about the story of Leonardo’s bridge and being moved by the genius’ thwarted desire. “This is why I brought Leonardo to Istanbul in my opera, which goes back to 500 years ago. [In the opera] Leonardo is invited to Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace to talk to Sultan Bayezid and they decide to build the bridge,” the composer said. “In this way, the opera establishes a bridge between 500 years ago and today.”

The final stage of the opera highlights the possibility for all people to live in peace in an independent and creative atmosphere. “That is to say, Leonardo’s bridge is used as a metaphor that establishes a link between different cultures and civilizations, East and West and rich and poor,” Nazareth said.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Da Vinci's bridge dream comes true in Istanbul

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