- What’s On
Armen dreamed of creating the first great theatre company in Constantinople. But on opening night, disaster - his leading actress defects to a rival troupe.
Everything seems over until Gariné arrives on the scene. Armen is inflamed with passion for her voice, but her father detests the theatre. Can she be persuaded to defy him, and to sing on opening night? Will it be Gariné that saves the day?
Dikran Tchouhadjian is considered the first opera composer in the Ottoman Empire. Known in his lifetime as ‘the Armenian Verdi’ and ‘the Oriental Offenbach’, he fused European and Eastern traditions to pioneer a thrilling new musical style.
Since its composition in Turkish as Leblebici Horhor Ağa (Master Hor Hor the Chickpea Vendor) in 1875, Gariné has been adapted three times for film (including by Nazim Hikmet), and has delighted audiences all over Europe and the Middle East.
Now Gerald Papasian directs a semi-staging in English, of his own adaptation, previously performed at the Theatre of Saint-Maur, Paris and the Theatre de L’Odeon, Marseille. Fusing the Armenian and Turkish settings, this rare London production – playing for two nights only – will mark Tchouhadjian’s extraordinary contribution to Turkish and Armenian opera.
Below: inside the rehearsal room at Arcola Theatre with Gerald Papasian…