When my father pointed out that there was an opera festival at the same time as when I was in Istanbul, I thought “huh?”. It turns out it is the second annual Istanbul Opera Festival, bringing together several different companies and operas to various Istanbul stages throughout July. The overall programme of the festival is rather safe; Entführung aus dem Serrail, Tosca, L’italiana in Algeria. What took me by surprise was Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, produced by State Opera Gärtnerplatz in München. The Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht opera was an odd choice, considering not many people would be interested in seeing it (as in it is not your typical harmony filled Mozart opera and opera isn’t exactly a flourishing genre in Turkey).
So, of course, got tickets, and went to Rumeli Castle, a stage that is not at all professionally ready to be a stage on many levels. Definitely not ready for an opera production, with a hand crafted backstage, awkward and dark stage entrances, horrible (late) audience management, the venue somehow managed. So did the orchestra and the Choir of State Opera Gärtnerplatz. In the end, it was a great production, a rare opportunity to watch a Weill/Brecht opera.
Plus, now I know where the Alabama Song (whiskey bar) comes from.