Opera: Throughout the 21 Years

13 September 2019

As the original texts are written in Turkish, English translation is provided for non-Turkish readers. The author apologizes in advance for any and all possible changes and losses in meaning due to translation.

We, as Siemens have been operating in Turkey for more than 160 years, which is astonishingly a long time. We have always planned for a long-term presence in Turkey and worked accordingly. Also based our sustainability approach on this framework. Prior to the launch out of a project, we always contemplate on how to develop it in the long run; since rather than one-time support, initiating a project, growing it, taking it to different levels, improving its scope and value are important to us. Siemens Opera Contest that has become a traditional event is a good example to this approach; it started from scratch and within these 21 years it touched and continues to touch the lives of tens of opera singers who performed on world stages.

While launching and continuing the project, our premise has always been this: There are many talented young people and artists in Turkey. Trying to create opportunities for these young people on various platforms has been our main source of motivation and enthusiasm.

I believe that the phenomenon of “brand” is another important aspect. Building a brand and sustaining its reputation requires great time and effort. When these young opera singers successfully represent Turkey abroad, they are actually performing on behalf of Turkey and add great value to the brand of Turkey.

In my now more than 43 years with Siemens, I worked in 7 different countries. Every country has its dynamics and every country has unique musical, economic, and political rhythms. But what has always fascinated me the most is how different instruments may bring people together. These instruments can sometimes be sports, sometimes cuisines or art. They immediately interfere and open the doors of communication, especially when experts or authorities feel they are in a deadlock.

Lucky us, we have been doing this for 21 years. This reminds me of the motto “Ars longa, vita brevis”. Cited from Hippocrates and translated into Latin, this phrase means “art is long, life is short”. Actually, Hippocrates said these words in the context of medicine, which he considered to be an art, and added: “opportunity fleeting, experiment dangerous, judgement difficult”.

In other words, expertise on a certain topic, craft or art requires a lot of time, effort and endeavor. Compared to this trouble, our life is quite short. Yet, there is another side to the medallion: An art earned by giving your lifetime to it makes you immortal in the end. Isn’t this already the dream of an artist?

When I think about Siemens Opera Contest, I do not see a standardized event that has never changed in 21 years. On the contrary, I see a snowball that grows layer by layer, developed with experience, and gains value with the excitement and enthusiasm of young people. And I thank everyone involved for their contribution.

Let Tchaikovsky say the final words: “Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven’s gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Only music can calm, enlighten, and still our souls. Music is a true friend, refuge, and comforter, makes life worth living. Perhaps there will be no music in heaven. Well then, let us give our mortal life to it as long as it lasts.”

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