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Othello in the Seraglio

A musical polymath, Grammy-nominated composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol seamlessly weaves elements of his Turkish heritage with formal music education (B.M., Berklee College of Music, M.M., and D.M.A., New England Conservatory).
Whether fusing early European and Turkish sources with original music of his own in Othello in the Seraglio, or conversing with jazz greats Anat Cohen, Tiger Okoshi and Dave Liebman in his much lauded new album Resolution  (Editor’s Pick, Downbeat) Sanlikol is at home as a performer and composer in a vast musical landscape.
Originally from Turkey, Sanlikol has lived in Boston since the 1990s. He is currently on faculty at Emerson College and has taught at various prestigious institutions, including the Berklee College of Music, College of the Holy Cross and New England Conservatory.

Come hear about how he negotiates aspects of his adopted home and own cultural heritage in “Beyond ‘East vs. West:’ Challenging Assumptions,” (Mon. Oct. 24, 7:30 pm) a panel discussion with a multidisciplinary panel of Holy Cross faculty; experience the scholarly work beyond innovative concert programs that bring diverse cultures and traditions together in An Ottoman Tableau of Faith (Weds. Oct. 26, 5 pm), and take a sneak peek into Othello in the Seraglio with excepts and a discussion of its literary and musical sources in Musical Border Crossings, a lunch-time lecture demonstration on Thursday, October 27, 12 – 1 pm in Brooks Hall.

READA blog entry about Othello in the Seraglio by ATB Ambassador Margaret Goddard '19

READ: Othello in the Seraglio Program Notes 

Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch
October 27-28, 2016, 8 pm
Brooks Concert Hall

A coffeehouse opera

Music by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Script by Robert Labaree
Directed by Brian Fairley

Original music, with music from 16th- and 17th-century European and Turkish sources arranged, and additional Turkish poetry, by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol

Sanlıkol’s “music is colorful, fanciful, full of rhythmic life, and full of feeling. The multiculturalism is…sophisticated, informed, internalized.”  

-- Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

“Brings timeless enchantment to this age-old tragedy…Gorgeous music.”

-- Boston Musical Intelligencer

With eleven musicians and a storyteller, Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch, is scaled to the intimate, informal setting of a coffeehouse in seventeenth century Istanbul (Constantinople). In the days before tea became the preferred Turkish beverage, this was a setting in which a professional storyteller (meddah) entertained a cosmopolitan audience of men while they smoked and sipped coffee, a newly-fashionable stimulant imported from Yemen. The storyteller spins out a well-known tale, an historically-based legend of love and jealousy, intensified by the crossing of boundaries between the free and the enslaved, white and black, Muslim and non-Muslim. 



Beyond 'East vs. West': Challenging Assumptions
Panel discussion in conjunction with Othello in the Seraglio
Monday, October 24, 2016, 7:30 pm
Seelos Theater

With Faisal Baluch, Political Science
Sahar Bazzaz, History
Ed Isser, Theatre
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, composer and founder of Dünya Musicians' Collective 
and moderated by Cynthia Hooper, History


An Ottoman Tableau of Faith
Lecture-demonstration by Dünya Musicians’ Collective
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 5 pm
Mary Chapel

With Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, voice, ud, ney 
Robert Labaree, voice, çeng 
Burcu Güleç, voice 
Beth Bahia Cohen, bowed tanbur 
George Lernis, percussion
Bertram Lehmann, percussion

The DÜNYA collective will present an historical tableaux of different religious musical practices in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, especially centered in Ottoman Istanbul. The many layers of communal interaction in the city created deep historical and musical influences between these religious traditions.

Co-sponsored with the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture 

Musical Border Crossings
A lunch-time lecture-demonstration with excerpts from Othello in the Seraglio 
Thursday, October 27, 2016, 12 pm
Brooks Concert Hall

Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol and members of the Dünya Musicians’ Collective offer a glimpse into the diverse musical influences and styles in Othello in the Seraglio.

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