Arşın Mal Alan – Live Theater in Ankara

I have a thing for live theatre. Whether it be a play on Broadway or Shakespeare in the park, I love it!  I love musicals, comedies, dramas . . . it doesn’t matter.

I haven’t acted in a play since grade school.  In high school, I enjoyed being a part of the orchestra for the school plays.  After that, I took in all I could, at schools and universities, local theatre, New york, etc.

Arden Theater, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of

There is something about it that is so exciting to me.  I love being outdoors, so a park setting is just fabulous to me!  I love the hustle and bustle of NYC, one of my favorites being years ago when I saw Rent off-broadway.

Photo courtesy of

Last night I had the opportunity to see Arşın Mal Alan in Ankara. It is a musical comedy, a love story, and operetta, written in 1913 by an Azerbaijani composer.  This performance even included a little ballet.

Having been surprised a couple of years ago by the Shakespeare ballet performance of Macbeth being all in Turkish, I readily expected this to be in Turkish too.  I didn’t care.  I was excited to go!

It turns out that it was actually performed in the original language of Azerbaijan, which is very close to Turkish, so the crowd understood most of it.  I am told they had some difficulty understanding the lyrics of the songs.  I understood very little.  But I was ready for that too.

I had done some research, so I knew the story line.  That helped tremendously. I had also looked for a movie online.  Apparently there are several movies based on the story.  All that I could find were in Russian or the native language, but I did find one with English subtitles.  I plan to watch it soon.  However, next time, I will definitely watch the movie before.

If you are anything like me when it comes to theatre, I highly recommend treating yourself to a show in Ankara.  If for nothing else than the pleasure of enjoying the location itself.  This particular performance was at one of the smaller venues, Operet Sahnesi (Operetta Theater) in Sıhhiye.  It’s on the hill across from the Ethnography Museum. 

T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı – Ankara Resim ve Heykel Müzesi Operet Sahnesi – Photo courtesy of

As I admired the golden walls and huge golden chandelier hanging above, I imagined Mustafa Kemal Atatürk himself sitting above me in the balconiies.

Photo by Dus Hekimi Yalcin Ergin,

You can find all performances, operas, plays, ballet, etc., by the State Opera and Ballet in Ankara by clicking here. 

For seating charts and directions to all three of the Ankara venues of the State Opera and Ballet, click here.

Click here for a link to Devlet Tiyatrolari, a State-owned theatre with even more venues.

3 thoughts on “Arşın Mal Alan – Live Theater in Ankara

Add yours

  1. . . after a few years of living here I’ve come to take the quality of the various State Opera and Ballet Companies for granted. They are an all-round, very affordable class act!

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