Ashoura Opera

Ashura Opera was composed by Behzad Abdi, the Iranian composer, in 2008 based on librettos compiled by Behrouz Gharib. The main source for the libretto is poems by Mohtasham Kashani, a sixteenth century Iranian poet.

In the Iranian culture, the first ten days of Muharram (the first month of the Hijri calendar) marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hossein, and is observed by mourning ceremonies all through the country.

This year, the Vahdat Hall in Tehran, experienced its first musical performance during the first ten days of Muharram at least in the past three decades after the Islamic Revolution of the 1979 as the Roudaki Foundation decided to have the opera on stage in the form of a concertante for five nights. Nassir Heidarian, the Austrian-based Iranian conductor, was invited to as the guest conductor to lead Tehran Symphony Orchestra for this unique performance at such a special time of the year.

The composition is the first Iranian national opera. Behzad Abdi explains that Iranian Opera should not be compared to the Wagnerian and Italian Opera as they stem from different cultural backgrounds. In a brief article published in the Farsi Etemaad Newspaper, in January 2013, Abdi states that in the Iranian opera, the singing (avaaz) plays a crucial role as the protagonists sing in the Iranian style (avaaz) and the antagonists draw on the recitative in creating their roles.

In a series of articles entitled “A Review of Ashura Opera” by Sadjad Pourghanad which was published on the Farsi HarmonyTalk Journal, the critic argues that Behrouz Gharibpour has carried out a great job in structuring his opera based on traditions practiced in the Iranian Ta’zieh which is considered a genuinely Iranian art also well-known for preserving the dastgah frame work of the classical Iranian music.

The Opera is originally a marionette, designed and directed by Behrouz Gharibpour, and enjoyed many performances worldwide and was very well received by its audience.

The work is recorded by the Ukraine National Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Sirenko in Ukraine.

The Opera is written in the following acts:

Part 1: Prelude
Part 2: Yazeed’s Court
Part 3: Angels
Part 4: Shimr’s Residence
Part 5: Farewell
Part 6: Horr
Part 7: Ibn Zyad’s Court
Part 8: Horr’s Martyrdom
Part 9: Festivity at Ibn Zyad’s Court
Part 10: Final


Behrouz Gharibpour, born in 1957, is a writer, cinema and theatre director and a master of marionette opera. He is very prolific and has directed 6 marionette operas so far. Ashoura Marionette Opera is Gharibpour’s first experience as librettist.

Behzad Abdi, born in 1973, is a composer and an actor. He studied the basic music theory with Maestro Masoud Sha’ari (Masoud Shaari) and Maestro Farhad Fakhreddini. He gained his Masters in composing from Kotlyarevsky University of Arts in Ukraine and studied with Maestros such as Vadim Jurzvitsjyi, Liudmila Yurina, Vladimir Zolotukhin, ‏Lev Kolodub. Behzad Abdi’s recorded symphonic works exceed those of any other Iranian composer. He has been awarded the Crystal Simorgh of Fajr Film Festival for the best score several times.

Nassir Heidarian, born in 1957, studied trumpet and trombone in the Higher Conservatory of Music in Tehran. Having graduated from the Conservatory, he started working at Tehran Symphony Orchestra. He then furthered his musical education in trombone and conducting in University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Teaching at University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, as well as conducting several operas in Graz Opera are among his achievements.


Singers:
Ali Yaripour (Mohtasham), Mahdi Javar (Yazid), Soheyl Matin (Shemr), Ramin Bahiraie (jebreil), Hanieh Gholibeykian (Shemr’s Wife), Kimia Khanzadi (Sakineh), Razan Tirna (Roghaieh), Hadi Feyzabadi (emam Hosein), Alireza Mahdizadeh (Hor), Mahdi Emami (Abas), Sadjad Pourghanad (Omar), Mohamad Vaziri (Mosab), Amer Shadman (Ziad)

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Hassan Kassai, Ney Virtuoso

The name of Maestro Hassan Kassai is so vehemently intertwined with Ney (Persian reed flute) that one cannot imagine one without the other immediately coming into mind. Ney is one of the instruments which went through a lot of ups and downs in the history of the Iranian music since the time of Sassanid kings to the time when shepherds found playing it consoling when they took their cattle for grazing. However, Nay could never demonstrate its main capacities to gain a stable position among the musicians and the people like other instruments including Oud, Tar, Santour, all sorts of bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

From Past Days…

Principles of Violin Playing (X)

Creating sound continuity between two notes in the source and destination positions when left hand position changes and “two different finger numbers” are involved is called portamento. Portamento can be performed on single string or two neighboring strings and with hand moving on fingerboard either upward or downward.

Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian: a pioneer in Iranian music (II)

Gholamreza Khan Minbashian taught courses such as organology, orchestration of military music and harmony based on the books which were translated from French into Persian with the help of Aliakbar Mozayyan-o-Dolleh (1846-1932).

Women Musicians in Large Iranian Orchestras

It is more than a century now that the sociologists consider the presence of women in different social domains as a benchmark for a society’s progress. They analyze the presence of women in society by the means of available statistics. Unfortunately, as with regard to the Iranian society, statistics related to women’s engagement, has not been available to the researchers, if they existed at all.

“Guitar Memories” Released

The album “Guitar Memories” consists of the performance of baroque to recent era masterpieces, by Mehrdad Mahdavi, and is published by Tanin-e Honar Publication.

In this album there are pieces composed and arranged by artists such as: Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Johann Anton Logy, Fernando Sor, Yuquijiro Yocoh, Leo Brouwer.

Musical Sense or Technique?

One of the most popular terms used by Iranian instrumentalists is the existence or a lack of musical “sense”. Both musicians and fans of music consider having “sense” while playing music as an important principle to the extent that they use it vis-a-vis having technique.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.

“The Art of Silence” Project Will be Released

Shaahin Mohajeri, the award-winning Iranian microtonal compose, has contributed to The Art of Silence is an international project which features unpublished pieces by microtonal composers from Iran, Japan, the United States, and other countries.

Women and the Music Environment in Iran

The life territory of the female-male relations in the Iranian cultural context is basically a domestic territory and not a social-living one in the labour and leisure domains. To prove this, it only suffices to consider the Iranian men’s viewpoints about women. For the Iranian men, there are three perspectives regarding the women: mother, sister and wife. Mother represents the emotional territory; sister represents the logical territory at home while wife represents the sexual territory.

The Mystery of Messiah

Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 18 December 1737) was an Italian luthier and is considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field.