Intercultural Musical Explorations in ‘A Coffeehouse Opera’: Shakespeare’s Othello, an Ottoman Eunuch and Bektashi Sufism


Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


CMES, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA

The CMES Sohbet-i Osmani Seminar Series presents

Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Emerson College, and
Dr. Robert Labaree, New England Conservatory

Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol reimagined Shakespeare’s Othello in an Ottoman setting, with Othello as an African eunuch and Desdemona as an Italian concubine, in "Othello in the Seraglio: The tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch". With Robert Labaree, writer of the opera’s script, Sanlıkol created a 'coffeehouse opera' in which an Ottoman meddah (storyteller) retells an historically-based legend of love and jealousy through early European and Turkish instruments, singing styles and musical languages. An important aspect of the work is Bektashi Sufism, which also found its way into several other works by Sanlıkol that will be included in the presentation. The coffehouse opera “Othello in the Seraglio” will be performed at Oberon/A.R.T. in Cambridge on March 1st and 2nd:ümbül-black-eunuch.

Contact: Liz Flanagan