Say I am You - Mevlana

MP Ellison, Tessa Joosse

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Say I am You-Mevlâna (2012) is a chamber opera for eight voices, Turkish instruments and ensemble in eight tableaux (80’) with libretto by the composer, which portrays the spiritual transformation of 13th century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi at the instigation of Shams of Tabriz. A co-production of Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation (IKSV), Rotterdam Operadagen, and the Istanbul Music Festival, VocaalLAB Nederland and Hezarfen Ensemble, it premièred at Rotterdam Operadagen and Topkapı Palace, Istanbul in June 2012, with video scenography by Tessa Joosse. Production was funded by the 400. years Turkey-Netherlands committee, SICA (NL), Dutch Consulate Istanbul and IKSV, with a CD released (Métier, MSV28539) in 2013 with the original cast.

Meeting Shams of Tabriz on a spring morning, Rumi hears his eternal soul called and throws himself headlong into love, trading in a lifetime of concepts for true experience, leaving behind students and family confused and envious of what they cannot understand. Mevlana is a horizontal and vertical journey through two worlds: seen and the unseen, time and eternity, poetic suspension and linear action. Its musical dramaturgy seeks out a music theatre/opera that dances between these paradoxes, leaving behind ideas for experience, narrative linearity for poetic transcendence. Say I am You traces two lovers’ paths from temporal forms to eternal presence, and human society’s resistance to change.
Translated title of the contributionSay I am You - Mevlana
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationRotterdam Operadagen, Istanbul Music Festival
Media of outputChoral/Orchestral
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
EventRotterdam Operadagen/Istanbul Music Festival - Rotterdam/Istanbul, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 201224 Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Medium: opera
Duration: 80'
Texts: Libretto by composer on poetry of Rumi
Performers: VocaalLab, Hezarfen Ensemble, Lucas Vis, conductor


  • opera
  • contemporary
  • Rumi
  • Hezarfen Ensemble
  • Ellison
  • VocaalLAB
  • Lucas Vis
  • Istanbul Music Festival
  • IKSV
  • Turkey
  • Mevlana
  • Rotterdam Operadagen


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