Renowned Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek, who has become one of the most successful figures in Italian cinema, is preparing to stage famous Italian composer Guizeppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” in Europe’s oldest theater, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples.
This will be the second theater directing experience for Özpetek, who also directed Verdi’s famous opera “Aida” at the opening of the 74th Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence two years ago.
The director will stage “La Traviata” at the opening of the season at the San Carlo Dec. 5. He said that after staging “Aida,” the theater persistently called him to stage “La Traviata.”
Özpetek said San Carlo was a unique theater. “This place is a real sanctuary. It is the oldest and the most important theater in Europe. The biggest sopranos and directors were here. I am proud of it. I feel like a Turk seized the sanctuary of theater.”
‘It takes your all energy’
The director said rehearsals had begun nearly two weeks ago. “It is very difficult but enjoyable. I mean that I don’t get very tired when making cinema. It takes your all energy.”
Özpetek said “La Traviata” was the work Verdi loved the most. “Most importantly, you are not free; it is not your own production, it was written by another person, a genius. This is why you cannot touch anything, but you should add your own interpretation to it.”
Özpetek said it was traditional in Italy to have cinema directors stage opera. “It is a privilege for me, a very good feeling. Italian cinema makes use of internationally known directors in their operas. It is important to succeed at this mission, because I know many directors who got involved in this process once and never tried again. It should be done with passion.”
The director said he wanted to include Turkey in everything he did. “I want to reveal my Turkish side. In order to show the Turkish effect on this opera, I used Oriental elements from French novelist Marcel Proust’s famous novel ‘In Search of Lost Time.’ We wanted to the Ottoman effect in Paris in the 1910s.”
Özpetek said he loved the scenes in “La Traviata” where two or three people are on stage and the choir does not play. “We shed tears during some rehearsals. I remember Turkish films from my childhood while working on the opera. Especially Violetta’s suffering and pain. The orchestra chief and artists are surprised, saying I have such insolent ideas. This is what I like.”
Özpetek thinks Naples is a wonderful city to work in. “I am affected by the city’s interest in me. My nine different films are shown in various movie theaters in the city. It is a Ferzan Özpetek retrospective.
People know me everywhere; they talk to me. They say I make them proud.”
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Reported by Hürriyet Daily News