April 22, 2011

Symphonic ‘Mevlid Cantata’ Makes World Debut in Istanbul

“Mevlid Cantata,” written three years ago by Turkish classical composer Selman Ada in symphonic form, had its world premiere, performed by a 452-musician-strong polyphonic choir and symphony orchestra, on Wednesday evening at the Istanbul Congress Center.

“Mevlid” is an epic poem written by Ottoman poet Süleyman Çelebi in 1409 in tribute to the Prophet Muhammad. The project, which received the support of both President Abdullah Gül and the Directorate of Religious Affairs, is a joint effort between Ada and the Ankara-based State Opera and Ballet General Directorate.

State Opera and Ballet (DOB) Director General Rengim Gökmen said as the DOB, they attach importance to performing internationally renowned works of music and the performing arts as well as the works of Turkish composers, choreographers and writers in his opening remarks.

The DOB thinks that a country’s musical culture must be fed by its society’s own words and style and it must reach the global arena by feeding from its own soil, Gökmen stated. He added: “The precondition to exist in the art world is to create works suitable for the requirements of the time. In this sense, our institution has attached much importance to the works of Turkish composers, writers and choreographers in recent years. We are proud to put on the world premiere of a brand new Turkish work with our largest staff [of artists] ever.”

Gökmen also added that the “Mevlid Cantata” delivers messages of friendship, tolerance and peace to all of humanity, not only to the Turkish or Islamic world. Later he thanked President Gül, under whose auspices the project took place, and congratulated all the artists on and behind the stage.


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