Turkish director’s shoestring production wins What’s On Opera ‘Best Newcomer’ award

A young Swiss-Turkish director emerged as a surprise winner in the third annual What’s On Stage Opera Poll. Aylin Bozok’s production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (pictured), staged at the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Festival last year, was voted the Best Newcomer to the UK Operatic Scene in this year’s awards. A total of 15,000 votes – the highest on record – were cast by members of the British public.

Bozok’s Pelléas et Mélisande proved to be a big hit with theatre goers last year. Created on a shoestring budget, What’s On described it as, “full of simply-realised ideas that brilliantly elucidated what for many is a difficult opera”. They added, “Bozok’s talent marks her out as a worthy winner of and an exciting prospect for the future”.

Aylin Bozuk’s award-winning opera Pelleas et Melisa. Photo by Planet Hughill

Born in Switzerland to a family of musicians, Aylin Bozok (pictured above) started to play the piano aged 4 and sang as a member of the children’s chorus of Grand Théàtre de Genève from the age of 10. She graduated with a degree in Theatre Directing from Bilkent University in Ankara and went on to become one of the youngest directors to stage a play in Istanbul State Theatre.

Trained in the Stanislavski System, she has experience in opera, physical theatre, new writing and musicals. Her credits include Il tabarro (Grimeborn Opera Festival 2012, Director) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Royal Opera House, Assistant Director).

Her production of Pelléas et Mélisande generated rave reviews from the British media, including in the Evening Standard and What’s On Stage (the UK’s biggest theatre publication). The Daily Telegraph described it as, “stunning…the best fringe opera in London.”