Opera and Ballet in Turkey

Discover Turkey and performing arts

Turkish Opera and Ballet

The State Opera and Ballet aims to convey opera, ballet and polyphonic music to all segments of society, to provide these art branches integrate our cultural richness, to organise national and international activities.

Turkish State Opera and Ballet

Notwithstanding the short history of opera in Turkey which only spans 56 years, Turkish State Opera and Ballet counts amongst its members many artists of international fame.

The State Opera and Ballet is the national directorate of opera and ballet companies of Turkey, with venues in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Mersin, Antalya and Samsun.

The directorate is bound to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Performing Arts: In the period before the proclamation of the Republic in Turkey; opera, ballet and theatre were mostly centred around Istanbul and Izmir. The first opera performance at the imperial court was by artists trained by Italian Giuseppe Donizetti (1788-1856) from the Italian opera. Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazim Akses and Cemal Resit Rey were the first composers of opera, operettas and musicals in the Republican era.

Turkish Ballet

In 1947, the famous ballerina and teacher Ninette de Valois was invited to Istanbul and through her efforts, the National Ballet School was set up. In 1956-1960, the first dancers graduated from Ankara State Conservatory and the State Opera formed a corps de ballet.

Cesmebasi which is one of the most important works in Turkish ballet history was first performed in 1965.

Turkish Opera

Adnan Saygun's first two operas Ozsoy and Tasbebek, Necil Kazim Akses's Bay Onder staged in Ankara in 1934.

During 1935, Paul Hindemith, a composer, and Carl Ebert, a theatre director, were invited to give lectures at Musiki Muallim Mektebi in Ankara, which was subsequently transformed into the Ankara State Conservatory. A Mozart musical Bastien und Bastienne staged at the Ankara State Conservatory with pupils playing libretto in Turkish (1936).

The staging of western operas such as Madame Butterfly (1940) and Tosca (1941) and the orchestrations, chorus and solo recitals of 1950-1952 contributed to form a foundation for the establishment of today's State Opera and Ballet.

Turkish Opera and Ballet
Performing Arts, Samsun