By Heidi Trautmann
After two weeks of Kyrenia Art and Music Festival, in the middle of Bayram when every Turkish Cypriot is going away for a holiday, we are being informed at short notice that there is a musical delicacy imported from Turkey and Germany to be held at the Kyrenia Amphitheatre supported by the Mayor of Lefkoşa and under the auspices of our First Lady, Meral Eroğlu. There has not been a single mention in the local English speaking newspapers as far as I can see.
I held my breath when I saw the theatre practically empty when we arrived at 15 minutes to 8, on the first evening of the two performances though it filled to a quarter of the theatre’s capacity until quarter past. We had brought our cushions to sit on but hardly dared to put them down, the rows were so dirty and sticky from drinks spilled during the last festival performances. During the performance I wandered around as so many other photographers did and it was everywhere the same, rubbish in the corners, even in front of the stage. The stage had just one bunch of flowers and two banners in front of the stage, still with remaining pieces of posters on the walls, it is a great shame. I was so sad for the guest performers, for the people who have come with joy in their heart, expecting to bring something wonderful to our island and to be received like this.
Still, for us who had come to listen to the programme of beautiful opera arias and chorus melodies, it was a very lovely evening. Among us were the first Lady accompanied by Yaşar Ersoy, director of the Nicosia Municipality Theatre and his wife, Mr and Mrs Norbert Schürger, Head of the Office of International Affairs of the Nuremberg Municipality, the Italian Ambassador and his wife, and Dervis Beyit, Director of the Cultural Department. We were there to listen to a concert with the Antalya State Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Lehrergesangsverein Chorus from Nuremberg and the Cyprus Art Music and Ballet School Youth Chorus with the directors Bernd Dietrich and Turgay Hilmi who had organized the event.
The concert was divided into recitals of arias with soloists directed by Turgay Hilmi alternating with pure Chorus music directed by Bernd Dietrich. The soloists were
NURDAN K. AYDIN SOPRANO (Turkey)
ZEYNEP ERÇELİK SOPRANO (15 years, TRNC, member of the Kibris Sanat School Choir)
EBRU KAPTAN ALTO (Turkey)
GÖKSAY YARAN TENOR (Turkey)
The programme was therefore quite exquisite and often not easy, with music by Bizet with Carmen; Mozart and the Chorus of the Priests; wonderfully sung was Nessun dorma by Puccini; the duet from The daughters of Zebedco by Chapi; the Captive Chorus from Nabucco by Verdi; also by Verdi, the Triumphal March from Aida, arias from Rigoletto and La Traviata, in the first part of the evening.
The wind had set in heavily, first I thought that it were cars but it was the wind roaring via the microphones, perhaps attracted by the beautiful voices or saddened by the empty rows in the amphitheatre; the musicians had difficulties in keeping their note sheets together, and Turgay Hilmi had to perform quite a dance to hold the sheets and direct the orchestra. But, they are professionals, and the show must go on even with an unexpected guest performer like the wind keeping the tension of all on the stage at high level.
After the break we heard Johann Strauss with The Bat, and there were two young singers who were not mentioned in the programme, they must have come with the German Chorus; then the Merry Widows of Windsor by Nicolai; beautifully sung again was the aria from Romeo and Juliet: Je veux vivre by Gounod; then followed by Fauré’s Pie Jesus sung by our young Cypriot Turkish girl, very touching. The Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin by Wagner, when the wind grew in strength and howled with them. A lovely duet the Flower Duet by Delibes in French again and finally Händel’s Messiah with a very strong Hallelujah. There was a second night, which I hope, while I am writing about my experience, will be more rewarding for the guest performers. My thanks go to them for having given us their music.