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at Smith College

Northampton, MA



Sam Rush, Production and Publicity Manager
(413) 585-3249; srush@smith.edu
Nikki Beck, Production and Publicity Assistant
(413) 585-3222; ncbeck@smith.edu



Othello in the Seraglio:
The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch


a coffee house opera


Northampton, MA—

A production of the Dünya Ensemble, conceived by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol


based on William Shakespeare (1603), Giovanbattista Giraldi (1565), and Read Ekrem Koçu (1933), with music from 16th and 17th century sources from Europe and Turkey and original music by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol.


A cast of 11 musicians, singers and actors tells the story of the famous Sümbül, an African slave who was the chief Black Eunuch in charge of the harem of the Ottoman sultan in the 17th century. This is an enduring Mediterranean tale of love and jealousy across racial boundaries, scaled to the intimate and informal setting of a coffee house in the polyglot environment of Constantinople/Istanbul in Sümbül's day. A traditional Ottoman storyteller (meddah hayali), speaking mainly in English, tells the story, which is interwoven with instrumental music and singing in Turkish and Italian by an ensemble of specialists in European early music and in Turkish music. The love story and the combination of musical styles draw the audience into a reflection on race and slavery, and on the entwined histories of east and west.

The Dünya Ensemble (DÜNYA the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Greek word for "world"), is a musicians' collective based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goal is to explore a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the music of the formerly Ottoman people—Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics—as well as with western and other world traditions. The DÜNYA collective includes specialists in Ottoman music, early European music, Middle Eastern Christian and Jewish music, ethnomusicology, jazz, contemporary composition and popular music. In DÜNYA projects, research and translation combine with original composition, improvisation and musical experimentation.

Joel Pitchon, Smith College Professor of Music, says, "the musician's of the Dünya Ensemble are fantastic. I was completely captivated by the performance they gave when they last visited Smith. This year's presentation promises to be both musically and dramatically fascinating."


Co-sponsored by the Smith College Departments of Music, Theatre, and English.

Othello in the Seraglio AT A GLANCE
Thursday, April 9 at 8:00 PM
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall, Smith College
144 Green Street, Northampton, MA
Free and open to the public


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