Pre-Conference Events

Thursday, February 27th | Pollock Theatre

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

Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch, a uniquely powerful “coffeehouse opera,” retells the age-old story of passionate love and murderous jealousy, of a black slave in the seventeenth-century Ottoman court who rises to power and riches, only to come to a tragic end. The multi-layered script was adapted from Shakespeare’s Othello and its source texts, and written by music historian Robert Labaree. The score, by Grammy-nominated composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, is a stunning tapestry woven of Italian Baroque and Turkish sections alongside Sanlıkol’s own newly-composed music. Othello is performed on traditional European and Turkish instruments by an ensemble of twelve musicians, singers, and a dramatic storyteller.

Tonight’s event will feature a high-definition cinematic restaging of the opera. Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol will join moderator Abdulhamit Arvas (Theater and Dance, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion. This event is presented in conjunction with the Early Modern Center conference “Queer Crossings, Unruly Locales 1500-1800.”A reception will follow the event in the Michael Douglas lobby.