Turn down the street leading to it, however, and you find yourself in an S-shaped canyon with, to one side, a recess that serves as a natural stage with a proscenium arch. It was here, last week, that I attended another of the concerts in the month-long Klasik Keyifler music festival, one that featured a mini-orchestra of musicians who could be seen by everybody since, unlike most man-made stages, this natural one is raised up high so that there’s no danger of those at the back being left with impeded views.
It was a wonderful concert, mainly of Vivaldi, but ending rip-roaringly with a work for violins and accordion by the Italian composer, Vittorio Monti, whose name meant nothing to me but whose Czardas turned out to be a piece we all know. It was the sort of music to bring an audience leaping to its feet and to send it home on a happy high.
A few days later we attended a concert that was the complete antithesis since it was given by two sisters in the far more intimate surroundings of the Seten Restaurant right next door to my home. The two concerts typified Cappadocia’s unique combination of attractions. Where the first took place in a setting that was all about spectacular natural beauty, the second was held in a place that typified the beauty that humans have been able to create out of the wonderful local stone-and-cave combination. At the same time the evening had its faintly comic side since the restaurant location ensured that the two women played Ottoman music composed for cello and kemençe against a backdrop involving more cloves of garlic than a Paris greengrocer’s.
But this was a very local affair. At a concert in Mustafapaşa’s Eleni Church a group of local women did join the concert-goers towards the end of the performance, but in general audiences tend to come from a fairly small pool of local classical music lovers. Here at Seten, however, I quickly became aware of a group of little girls who live just down the road who’d popped in to see what was happening and decided to stay.
What an experience it must have been for them, I thought. There they were surrounded by man-made beauty in a restaurant whose prices would have been prohibitively expensive for their families. But now they were sitting beside one of the young female architects who’ve made Cappadocia their own in recent years, and at the same time they were watching two more young women performing on stage with all eyes glued to them.
Afterwards the owner of the restaurant came over to serve them glasses of cola. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” he asked them and the girls reeled off a list of impeccably professional suggestions that would have been unimaginable for their mothers. Just think -- if even one of them manages to achieve her ambition it might just be because of one night at a concert where she found herself surrounded by an impressive array of female role models.
Pat Yale lives in a restored cave-house in Göreme in Cappadocia.