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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HarmonyTalk Journal’s Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

On the 10th of Khordad, 1403 (equivalent to May 30, 2024), the twentieth anniversary celebration of the online journal “HarmonyTalk” took place at the Ersbārān Cultural Center. The event garnered such interest from enthusiasts that the venue was completely filled.

A combination of technique and musicality in the fingers of a pianist

In the world of classical music, the position of soloist has always been exceptional. Apart from the technical ability that many orchestral musicians also have, the soloist must also have a special power to be able to present a different and unique perspective of a piece. The soloist must maintain its special power of expression not only in solo roles but also when interacting with the orchestra.

From Past Days…

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (V)

ehrouz Mohammadi, “Daf and its feasts in Ghaderieh’s Tekyeh” mentions that the outer thickness of arch where studs are located, [is] between one to one and a half centimeters (Mohammadi, 2001: 12). The thickness of arch should be gradually reduced from the installation place of rings to skin (Avazeh of Daf) to create a high volume, clear sound from Daf; also, the connection of arch to skin should not be less than one millimeter, because in this case the skin will be torn due to the sharpness of the wood (Mogharab Samadi, 2009: 79-78). The thickness of wood on the skin side is about two to three millimeters (Tohidi, 2002: 79).

Harmony in the Iranian Music (II)

One of his works was the translation of Harmony, which was carried out with the help of Mozayyan al-Dowleh, and included a pamphlet based on which he used to teach the subject to the students of the school of music; the pamphlet was never published. It was, in fact, a kind of simple harmony for the piano with no quadriads, it rather featured the engagement of both the right hand and the left hand which was being taught at the music school for the first time. Salar-Mo’azez also composed military marches and hymns for schools, which he harmonized to be performed and piano. Likewise, he used to compose for military orchestras.

Maestro Hassan Nahid’s Role in Promoting the Ney

Maestro Hassan Nahid is one of the most prominent and distinctive artists who values high morals, discipline and hard work. His music activities include playing the Ney as both soloist and an accompaniment in the most important Iranian music orchestras and ensembles during the last fifty years, including the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Nusratullah Golpayegani), the Orchestra of National Instrumentalists of the Ministry of Culture and Arts (Payvar Orchestra), the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Morteza Hananeh) , Darvish Orchestra, Samaie Orchestra, Roudaki Orchestra, Maestros’ Ensemble, Aref Ensemble, as well as performances in various radio programs, many concerts in different countries, as well as a long teaching experience in the National Conservatory of Music, music universities and other music institutions to name but a few.

A Promising Concert by National Instruments Orchestra

The National Instruments Orchestra of Iran performed its first concert amid much hope and anxiety on July 18, 2015. The Orchestra is founded by Roudaki Cultural and Arts Foundation which is a semi-private foundation in Iran. The Arts Director for the National Instruments Orchestra of Iran is cand the Orchestra Executive Director is Sadjad Pourghand.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (I)

Joint application of the two techniques of “Lip” and “Nose” could be effectively applied for hearing and playing far-away intervals, by the Classical Guitar. Before this, a Classical Guitar player had to waive playing intervals not possible with the left hand, and had to replace or eliminate some notes, making it possible to play such intervals; specifically the capability of the left hand of the musician, was also a factor in such a selection. These methods are hereby illustrated by photographs and a video-file, in order to provide optimum comprehension of applying these methods, invented by the author; specifically the “Lip” technique, which is considered to be a more significant technique, emphasized by the author.

Parviz Meshkatian’s Heart Beat for People (II)

As such, the young Meshkatian reached the position of a great maestro in the Iranian music. Up until 1997, Meshkatian remained prolific and composed many pieces which were characterized by progressiveness while drawing on the music of the past Iranian musicians. In some of Meshkatian’s works, one can trace the influence of maestros such as Faramarz Payvar; however, this influence is so balanced that one can neither say that Meshkatian is a progressive and deconstructionist composer nor does he use cliché forms in his compositions.

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (III)

“Our ancestors believe powerful blows upon the Daf scatters evil spirits of disease and distress to create a clean and holy space filled with health and prosperity. Adding tools to Daf increases this instrument’s purification, spreading, and summoning powers of evil forces and goddesses. Daf was mostly depicted by red, color of blood, in ancient times or sometimes it was depicted with green, the color of plants and nature. There were probably some mysterious designs painted upon the wooden body and frames of these instruments just like today” (Pahlavan, 2013: 44).

Henry Cowell: “Persian Set”

Persian Set: Four Movements for chamber orchestra: Moderato; Allegretto; Lento; Rondo

Henry Cowell, one of the most innovative American composers of the 20th century, was born in 1897. Cowell and his wife visited Iran in 1956 and stayed there the whole winter, upon the invitation by the Iranian Royal Family, when he composed his album “Persian Set” in four movements for chamber orchestra. His composition is expressive of the characteristic quality of the Persian or the Iranian 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.

Jamshid Andalibi passed away!

Jamshid Andalibi, one of the most famous ney players in Iran, passed away on the fifteenth of Esfand, 1402, at the age of 66 due to a heart attack at his private residence. Andalibi was a member of a family that had a significant presence in the field of Iranian music in the sixties and…
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