The opportunity to see any performance in the great theatre at Ephesus is not to be missed and, on Friday night, the Izmir State Orchestra were giving a grand finale performance of Carmina Burana. Not, perhaps, our first choice of music, but a great chance for the artists to showcase their talents.
We walked to the venue, breaking our journey with a pre-theatre dinner of gözleme at Seven Sleepers. Then, once we approached Ephesus, it became apparent that the event would be very well attended. The carpark was even more packed than it is when four cruise ships are in Kuşadası at the same time. People were having to park on the approach roads.
The site itself was lit up and we were swept along with the crowd – the atmosphere was festive and electric – much as it must have been in the city’s heyday. Once we got to the theatre we found plenty of people we recognised and, much to our surprise, managed to find our friends in the crowd.
The theatre has a capacity of over 20,000 seats and, although the top part is inaccessible, it is still able to seat a great many people. We couldn’t estimate how many were there, but it did seem like ‘an awful lot of people’. Many of whom were watching through their phones or tablets or other handheld devices. At least, we think, most people silenced their phones and the many children present were well-behaved. Many of them fell asleep…
The performance started with speeches and a minute’s silence for the victims of Soma mine disaster. The acoustics are remarkable – we heard every note in great detail. And the atmosphere was… incomparable.