In September, we attended 1 of the 3-part annual “İzmir Efes Opera and Ballet Days” (Devlet Opera ve Balesi Genal Müdürlüğü) sponsored by the T.C. Culture and Tourism Ministry (T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı). The festival is part of a country-wide initiative to preserve and promote opera and ballet arts in Turkey. They are not only held in Ephesus but also other major cities throughout the country.
The first of the 3 part series began with the “Gala Concert”, on Saturday, September 16. At the concert, the İzmir State Opera Orchestra performed pieces as well as accompanied an Italian soloist, Soprano Daniela Cappiello, and tenor, Gianluca Terranova. The second part on September 19, the Istanbul State Opera performed compositions from the 18th century, influenced by Ottoman culture and life in Europe. The closing performance, a ballet of “Romeo and Juliet,” was held on September 22 accompanied by a live orchestra.
At 30 Turkish Lira (approximately $8) a ticket, an event in the ancient theater of Ephesus is actually affordable to the general public. We definitely took advantage of attending at least one event! While we purchased our tickets quite easily online, our seats were not specified to any location in the theater. I heard some of our friends purchased their tickets for 15 TL from another source. Even others were about to purchase tickets with reserved seating.
Tips and tricks: The performance is (literally) in a 2,000-year-old theater made of stones and marble, and I suggest for your comfort to bring pillows for your seats! Also, blankets will keep you warm if the evening becomes a little chilly and windy. Since there is only 1 way in and out and limited parking in the lower arena of Ephesus, get there early and be patient when leaving! We had a rental car, but there are plenty of taxies available for transport.
Since the ballet didn’t start until 9 pm, we decided to make a weekend of it and stayed Friday night in the Ayasoluk Hotel and Restaurant in the nearby city of Selçuk. The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, we spent the day exploring the House of the Virgin Mary, the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, and the Basilica of St. John before heading back to Izmir.
Seeing Ephesus at night was a rare treat I hope everyone can enjoy at least once!
For more information:
İZMİR EFES OPERA AND BALLET DAYS
Address: Ephesus Antique Theater
When: Every September
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