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Turkey's ancient Ephesus Theater reopens following 3-year break

The ruins of the Great Theatre are seen in the ancient city of Ephesus on 18 September 2017 in Izmir, Turkey. [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]
The ruins of the Great Theatre are seen in the ancient city of Ephesus on 18 September 2017 in Izmir, Turkey. [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Turkey's iconic Ephesus Theatre will reopen its doors for art-lovers following a three-year break due to restoration works and coronavirus, Anadolu reports.

The ancient theatre will host the 4th International Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival.

In 2003, the Turkish Culture Ministry reduced the activities in the ancient theatre due to static problems and restoration works. In 2018, the theater was completely closed for concerts and performances. It will re-open its doors on August 24, with Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata.

Ephesus Theater will host three different international events between Aug. 24 and Sept. 3 as part of the festival.

The over 2,300 year-old theater, which has a seating capacity of approximately 24,000 people, will host a maximum of 2,400 – 2,500 people at each event due to measures taken against coronavirus.

Ephesus, previously an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman settlement near present-day Selcuk in the coastal Izmir province, boasts a rich cultural heritage dating back to 6,500 BC.

READ: Iconic refugee puppet Little Amal completes Turkey tour 

– Priority is safety

Cengiz Topal, director of the Ephesus Archaeological Museum, told Anadolu Agency that the ancient building is among the largest open-air theaters in the Turkish heartland Anatolia and was of great importance during ancient times.

Noting the priority is to ensure the safety of the visitors and artists, Topla said that the ancient theater will be open following a series of restorations.

"The theater will again be used for limited events from now on," he added.

– 4th International Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival

Aydin Ustuk, director of Izmir State Opera and Ballet, said that they will be presenting five important works as part of the 4th International Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival.

On Aug. 26, the Prague Ensemble concert will take place at Efes Odeon, Ustuk said. On Aug, 28, the Carmen Ballet, combined with the music of French composer Georges Bizet's 'Carmen' opera in an original choreography, will be staged at the Ephesus Theatre, he added.

As part of the festival, on Sept. 1, Ankara State Opera and Ballet's Modern Dance Ensemble will take the stage with the musical Gangster at Bornova Asik Veysel Amphitheater. On Sept. 3, a concert will be held at the Ephesus Theater in memory of late Turkish tenors Ender Ariman and Erol Uras.

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