Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Turkish Opera Ballet 2016-2017 Season Program

The new opera and ballet season is ready across the country. The Devlet Opera ve Bale (Turkish State Opera Ballet) announcement can be found in The opera houses typically keep some titles from the previous year and add new titles in the new season. If an opera or ballet is carried over from previous seasons, typically the previous production and the cast will be repeating. The new titles are also typically will start in the New Year. With that in mind, let us review the new program, determine our picks, listen to the music or watch online to re-train our ears and refresh the story prior to watching.

We have a good collection of productions that will continue from last year at Istanbul Süreyya Opera House:
Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress",
Giuseppe Verdi's "Ernani",
Jacques Offenbach's "Beautiful Hellen (La Belle Helene)",
J.Sebastian Bach "Kaffekantate",
Antonio Vivaldi's "Bajazet (Yildirim Beyazit)".
Donizetti's "Don Pasquale",
Charles Gounod "Faust", Rossini's "La Cerentolla (Cinderella)",
Benjamin Britten "The Turn of the Screw" will continue from last season.

The new productions at Süreyya Opera house starting in 2017 have some of the ballet’s classics,
Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Nutcracker",
Stravinsky's "Firebird Spring" ,
Adolphe Adam's "Giselle" and "Le Corsair (Pirate)".

These productions may be staged at Fulya Besiktas and Bakirkoy Leyla Gencer stages in rotation.

There is an extraordinary schedule at Izmir Alhambra Opera House. Season will start with last year's excitement, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s, "I Pagliacci (Clowns)". Highly recommended if you had not seen it yet.

The program will continue with the other productions from last season:
Johann Strauss (2) "Die Fledermaus"
Mozart's "Zaida"

The new program will include:
Gioacchino Rossini’s "the Barber of Seville." 
Giacomo Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly.
Giuseppe Verdi "Rigoletto"
Arrigo Boito's "Mephistopheles"

Ankara opera season starts with continued program from previous year:
Giuseppe Verdi’s "La Traviata"
Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme",
Georges Bizet's "Carmen" and "Signor Bruschino",
Johann Strauss’ “Gipsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron)" and "the Bat (Die Fledermaus)".

The new works this in Ankara are:
Jacques Offenbach’ Parisian Life", and "Tales of Hoffmann (les Contes d'Hoffmann)"
Ballets, "Hamlet" and" Yevgeny Onegin" will continue.

In Mersin Cultural Center in their historical building, the program includes:
Tchaikovsky’s "Yevgeny Onegin",
Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth",
Donizetti's "Rita"
Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrone".

In Antalya at the new Modern Culture Center, the program will include
Bizet's "Carmen"
Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" and "Iolanta",
Donizetti's "Viva la Mamma"
Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow".

Samsun opera house new young singers with extraordinary voices full of very big promises. We are delighted in watching them on stage later in Ankara and Istanbul. In Samsun’s Modern Opera House starts the new season starts with:
Puccini's "Tosca",
Donizetti's "L'Elixir d'Amore",
Verdi's "Masked Ball", and "Il Trovatore",
Bizet's "Carmen" and "Dr Miracle",
Donizetti "Rita".

The program for 2016-2017 is an extensive one with over 30 productions across the country. All of the locations are within reach and will provide the opera and ballet lovers with extensive enjoyment.

We have reputable music conservatories in Turkey. The opera experience in Turkey spans over a century. Turkish opera singers are great, they take world stages, world class. Opera and Ballet gives us a great daily escape from our daily travails, take a break. Go to the nearest opera house, choose the refuge and recharge your batteries.


Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo island, 22 September 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happened in the Berlin Local Elections?

Recent developments that will change the political balance in Germany has become very visible. What will be the response in the business world, how much concern shall we have in the energy sector? Let's call all along the answer to this question. But first, let's go back a bit

In the spring of 1945, Russian army started an offensive to reach Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany. Russians deployed 1,500,000 troops, 6500 battle tanks, 7,500 aircraft, 40,000 heavy guns. Russians lost 81,000 and 250,000 were wounded. Germans losses were more than 100,000, and 200,000 were wounded. Berlin fell in 2-weeks. Adolf Hitler and his top generals either committed suicide or surrendered. Surviving German soldiers and adult men were sent to infamous Gulag camps in Siberia. The war came to an end. Germany was now divided; West occupied by the Allied forces and East occupied by Russians.

Soon, Russians built a great monument in Treptow Park in Berlin to commemorate the fallen Russian soldiers during Berlin siege. They erected a gigantic statue of a Russian soldier in uniform and a cape. He is holding a small girl under his left arm saving her, a sword on his right hand, an automatic rifle swung on his back, and a swastika under his feet. Russians and East German administration organized annual commemoration ceremonies until 9th November 1989, the fall of Berlin wall.

Germans have been showing their discomfort about this sculpture, which has reminded them ruthless repressive occupation forces. They wanted the removal of the statue which was reminiscent of distasteful practice of past occupation. Similar statues were removed one by one from other eastern European countries. Russians insisted and this statue was kept in place.

In 2015, Germans organized a rock concert in abandoned Tempelhoff airbase. It was a Woodstock style festival for young people, with attendance of 70,000 fans. The Concert was a popular event with the youngsters.

This year "Lollapalooza Rock Festival" was reorganized in Berlin. This time organizers preferred arrange the festival in Treptow park. The morning program began with budding young rock bands, then continued with the better known rock bands later at night. Entrance fee was 75 Euros per person per day. Young people from every part of the world were in the festival with more than 100,000 participants. They consumed traditional German foods schnitzel and wurst, drunk lots of German beer.

Berlin "Lollapalooza" Rock Festival is now over. It is now time for cleaning the dirt that was accumulated during the rock festival. Berlin Municipality is not sure if the entry fee may be sufficient to pay the repair, clean the park, remove refuse, wipe out graffiti, re-sod the grass, and prepare the land for use again.

AFD German Nationalist party with anti-refugee policies was present in full force in this concert. They organized a political rally on the second day at 16: 00. It was observed that AFD found a lot of supporters. Recent opinion polls showed that the German Chancellor's Popularity had lowered at alarming levels.

In the 16 September local elections in Berlin, AFD, SPD and Green parties were the winners. The ruling coalition has lost the majority vote. In upcoming 2017 general elections, AFD ultranationalist party may get votes to join the government coalition, and enforce serious anti-refugee policies, such as limiting the incoming refugees, deporting illegal refugees. Poland, Hungary, Czech, Austria, Bulgaria, do not take the refugees to their territory.

How all these affect foreigners? Current German coalition government in power pursues moderate foreign policy, they have positive integration policies towards refugees. Germany has an old age population, at 46 average age. New government with AfD partner will have too protectionist, xenophobic policies to pursue. The deportation of illegal refugees to return to their countries may come to practice. However this practice may not cover foreigners with long term "residence permit".

It is the most likely foreseen that entry visa to Germany or Schengen will be too difficult to get for foreigners, non-Germans, for citizens of non-EU member countries. In power plant equipment sales, it would not be a problem, as long as you have money to pay and you can finance your project.

German power plant contractors, manufacturers and suppliers of gas turbines, steam turbines, boilers, software, hardware are ready to deliver their products and services at all times. However, it is foreseen that it will be difficult to make contract negotiations in Germany. So you better organize those meetings in your country.

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo island, 26 September 2016

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Could #Trump become President of the USA?

The first TV debate between US Presidential Candidates will take place on September 26, 2016. Later debates will be on October 9th and 19th to face with each other. During live debates on TV screens, candidates will respond to questions from anchor speakers, and also criticize each other within given time periods. Afterwards we shall read the evaluations on the printed press how capable they were.

Donald Trump is a TV star. He has his own very popular reality show "Apprentice" on TV with high ratings. He is very comfortable on the TV screen. In a TV debate, your writer feels that Mrs. Hillary Clinton has no chance to win the sessions. Mrs. Clinton has other problems to solve, such as her undisclosed unverified pneumonia and parkinson health rumors, confidential private emails during her FM tenure, and her difficulties and mismanagement during misfortunate Benghazi disaster. These are not so easy to cope in near future.

We are sure that she will continue the existing Foreign policy of the Obama administration with the same stalemate without any new solutions to the current world affairs. Mrs. Hillary Clinton has an eroding image in the discourse. Whereas Donald Trump has more fun, with solutions good or bad questionable, he is easy to improvise, easy to understand, with many solutions to ongoing problems, and flexible to apologize when and where necessary.

Your author does not believe the US pre-election public opinion polls. Donald Trump has an ongoing rating band of 40-42%. Hillary Clinton seems to be in the 46-48% band, but it seems that the gap is getting smaller very day.

Mrs. Hillary Clinton emerges as true follower if not designer of the current Obama foreign policies. She does not bring anything new. Donald Trump reveals more radical public decision for US voters. These are very attractive initiatives for average US voters, such as deportation of undocumented illegal immigrants, opening and exploitation of the coal mines for more employment and more jobs for coal country. These new policies reverse the existing norms and overtakes very attractive terms for average US voters. Bernie Sanders, would be more tough opponent for Donald Trump in social policies.

Donald Trump also promotes more isolation from the problems of the outside world, the Middle East, Afghanistan. He is inexperienced in foreign relations so he will try to avoid any further involvement. He promises no adventures in the foreign lands. So, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan wars will be left to neighboring geographies to solve. USA will withdraw foot soldiers and avoid land operations there. US arms manufacturers are traditionally support Republican candidates. So US arm manufacturers will continue to sell conventional weapons to these conflict regions to let them to kill each other. We are left to our destiny on our south border. US involvement will be limited to air strikes through drones with no pilots. Furthermore US visa applications will be more stringent. It will be difficult to get US visa. It will be to difficult to make business with USA in the long run.

Please do note that the "Trump Tower" which is located in Kustepe Mecidiyekoy Istanbul, does not belong to Donald Trump. Trump sold license, projects, architectural services, and right to use his name for Shopping mall, business center and accommodation facilities. "Trump Tower" in Istanbul is financed, constructed, promoted and operated by a Turkish real estate investment group.

Donald Trump does not have any direct investments in Turkey. He is a successful investor on entertainment centers, hotels, golf courses. In order to have Trump investments in Turkey, Turkish investment environment should get improved, and Turkey should get better financing evaluations from rating agencies in the long run.

Your writer finds always fun to follow foreign policies. I review cartoons which mock most foreign politicians. Putin (63) is described as naked, macho, in harsh attitude with green military camouflage pants. Cartoonists often love Putin. Putin is seen as a counter balance against Western leaders.

Obama (55) is lean, long, thin in black business suit with big ears in cartoons. I watch Donald Trump (70), Hillary Clinton (68), Bernie Sanders (74) in funny cartoons with pleasure.

Cartoonists love to exaggerate particulars of the politicians with uncomfortable details. Donald Trump's hair style, his small hands, obesity, Hillary Clinton's weird pants to cover her large basin, her high cheekbones, Bernie's advancing age. Politicians are to stand to cartoonists' hard cruel sense of humor at all times. They need to have hard skin to stand. Donald Trump has a thick hard skin. He is unconcerned and indifferent to hard satire that cartoonists draw, and he presumes credit for every appearance on the printed press. There is nothing else to do. Politicians are to get used to all that satire.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was drawn as poodle dog, due to his unconditional support of US foreign policies. The next Prime Minister David Cameron once accidentally pronounced "condom" in one of his public speeches. He is drawn with condom on his head from that date on.

The new British Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May(59) has crow's nose, hump back, feminist attitude, in funny cloths, especially with her leopard print heel shoes, as appeared in her cartoons.

German Chancellor Mrs. Angela Merkel (62) is depicted as nude, short, fat, submissive. American Painter Vincent Desiderio has a famous painting names "Sleep" where men and women sleep naked in the same bed. There are cartoons using the same theme, where Angela Merkel sleeps naked with other politicians. Merkel does not deserve them all. She is well educated, beautiful lovely lady. But in politics, one has to be resistant to all unreasonable irrational rouge hard criticism. In the last regional elections, in her own constituency, Merkel lost her public support and dropped to third place due to her immigration policies. She had incorrect inappropriate domestic policies for incoming refugee problem. She lost her chance to become the next Chancellor in the next period. Other European countries took hard decisions for refugee problems. They refuse to have refugees in Poland, Hungary, Czech, Austria.

A recent report has appeared in British tabloid DailyMail on Donald Trump's third and last wife 1970 Slovenia born Melanie Trump (46). Upon her arrival to the USA in 1996, she was with fashion model (and even escort) agency. Donald Trump responded "It is not my subject, ask to Melanie". Melanie Trump opened 150 million US dollar defamation lawsuit against the newspaper. The Newspaper later corrected the story and said that Melanie worked with fashion agency within legal terms. "Melanie was not an escort, she worked as a legal model," they made adjustments.

Cartoonists and satirists have freedom of expression, and it is impossible unreasonable to prevent their freedom of expression in Western democracies. Their band of criticism is too wide in the Western world. The youngest Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio(45) told for his rival Donald Trump (70) "his hands are too small", meaning an old-age obscene remark. Trump after three marriages with five children, responded with confidence, "And, he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee." Republicans are very casual for such obscene remarks waist down.

But that obscene remark was pronounced and cartoonists loved that statement and started to draw Trump with small hands. Naked Trump statues were installed in one early morning in major city parks. People loved to take selfie photos with that identical naked Trump fiber sculptures.

We shall miss President Barrack H. Obama for sure. He was a real intellectual, humanist, environmentalist, a model father and husband with full of humor. He avoided US foot soldiers in conflict zones. ObamaCare social security for all poor was his initiative.

Could Trump become the President of the United States? The answer is YES. He may get elected and become the next President in November 2016 US Presidential elections. If Hollywood star Ronald Reagan could become the US President for two consecutive terms, businessman and prominent TV star Donald Trump can become the next President. So all these satirical cartoons, sculptures may work for Donald Trump, we all have fun to enjoy. We columnists will have ample wording to write every day.

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Ankara, 16 September 2016

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