Othello in the Seraglio

A powerful encounter of Europe and Ottoman Turkey


Othello in the Seraglio
The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch

a coffeehouse opera

dedicated to Tom Zajac

Conceived and composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol
Storyteller script by Robert Labaree

Performed on European period instruments
and traditional Turkish instruments

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

Click the below links for longer excerpts from the opera:

photography by Eric Antoniou (at Oberon) and Öykü Canlı (at NEC)

Click here to listen to a story on Othello in the Seraglio on WBUR!

With eleven musicians and a storyteller, Othello in the Seraglio is scaled to the intimate, informal setting of a coffeehouse in seventeenth 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.

Based on:
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare
Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain), by Giovanbattista Giraldi (Cinzio)
Kızlarağası’nın Piçi (The Bastard of the Chief Black Eunuch), by Reşad Ekrem Koçu

Click here for the PROGRAM