In Say I Am You-Mevlana, the American composer Michael Ellison examines the life of the 13th century poet and thinker Jelaladin Rumi (Mevlana) and his transformation from an ordinary cleric to a Sufi. Rumi, one of the most important architects of Sufism and the founder of the Mevlevi Dervish Order, is satisfied with his life until the Wanderderwisch Shams of Tabriz comes from the East and turns his world upside down. Say I Am You describes the path of two lovers and the resistance of human society to change.


Co-production Operadagen Rotterdam, Istanbul Music Festival and VOCAALLAB. This production is realized in cooperation with the Republic of Turkey on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands.

A studio recording was made in two days in Istanbul in the Babajim Studio with the sound engineer Pieter Snapper.

01 June 2012 Operadagen Rotterdam – LP2 : 20:15
24 June 2012 Music Festival Istanbul – Aya Irini Church

Composition: Michael Ellison
Arnout Lems, baritone (Mevlâna)
Ekaterina Levental, mezzo soprano (Melike)
Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, tenor (Shams)
Angela Postweiler, soprano (ensemble)
Els Mondelaers, mezzo soprano (ensemble)
Fanny Alofs, mezzo soprano (ensemble)
Tiemo Wang, baritone (Veled, ensemble)
Maciej Straburzynski, bass-baritone (Allaudin, ensemble)

Musical direction: Lucas Vis

Ensemble: Hezarfen Ensemble Istanbul

Video artist: Tessa Joosse

Light designer: Jeroen Smith

01 June 2012 Operadagen Rotterdam
24 June 2012 Istanbul – Aya Irini Church

Date: 01/24 June 2012
Composition: Michael Ellison
Production/Festival: Operadagen Rotterdam/Music Festival Istanbul
Location: Rotterdam (NL)/Istanbul (TR)