Scholar and Musician Mehmet Ali Sanlikol to Present “Othello in the Seraglio”

This semester, the College of the Holy Cross is offering a series of interconnected events related to past and current cultural, religious and political conflicts. The centerpiece behind these events is the coffeehouse opera “Othello in the Seraglio” directed by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, who is a Boston-based, Turkish-American composer, scholar and musician. In addition, Sanlikol is joined by the Boston-based Dünya musicians' collective, which he founded. These events are sponsored by Arts Transcending Borders (ATB).

“We are pleased to welcome Boston-based Turkish-American composer for a series of related events around his coffeehouse opera “Othello in the Seraglio,” which reimagines the eponymous character as a chief eunuch in the Ottoman Seraglio in seventeenth century Istanbul,” said Yonca Karakilic, coordinator for ATB. “We hope to match Sanlikol's stunning mastery of multiple musical languages, on full display in “Othello in the Seraglio,” in our exploration of its social and cultural context through various disciplinary lenses.”

All events are free and open to the public.

Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. Seelos Theater, Kimball Hall Beyond“East vs. West”: Challenging Assumptions In conjunction with “Othello in the Seraglio,” a panel discussion moderated by Cynthia Hooper, associate professor of history and director of Russian and eastern European studies, featuring Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, composer and founder of Dünya ensemble; Faisal Baluch, assistant professor of political science; Sahar Bazzaz, associate professor of history and advisor for middle eastern studies; Ed Isser, professor and chair of theatre.

Oct. 26, 5 p.m. Mary Chapel, lower level of St. Joseph’s Memorial Chapel An Ottoman Tableau of Faith; lecture-demonstration by Dünya Ensemble The Dünya Ensemble 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. Members featured include: Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, voice, ud, ney; Robert Labaree, voice, çeng; Burcu Güleç, voice; Beth Bahia Cohen, bowed tanbur; George Lernis, percussion; and Bertram Lehmann, percussion. This event is co-sponsored with the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.

Oct. 27, 12 p.m. Brooks Concert Hall Musical Border Crossings: A lunch-time lecture-demonstration with excerpts from “Othello in the Seraglio” 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” with sold-out performances on Oct. 27 & 28.

Oct. 27, 28, 8 p.m. Brooks Concert Hall, Fenwick Hall Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch A coffeehouse opera produced by Dünya With 11 musicians and a storyteller, “Othello in the Seraglio” is scaled to the intimate, informal setting of a coffeehouse in 17th-century Istanbul (Constantinople). 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, East and West. **STANDING ROOM ONLY: Current reservations will be held until 7:45 p.m. on the day of the concert. At that point, it will be first come, first served.