A Window To A Dream breathes new life into opera favourites
Unprecedented program brings fresh Farsi translations of opera essentials to the stage at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts September 23rd, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richmond Hill, Ontario — Although Cultural Interchange-360’s upcoming production A Window To A Dream features a program consisting of some of the most famous and beloved music of the past 400 years, this event is the very first of its kind.
The event, supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council is coming to the Richmond Hill Centre For The Performing Arts on September 23rd, 2022 and includes a stunning collection of arias from the Baroque era to the 20th Century. The crucial catch: everything has been translated into Farsi.
Top-tier vocalists Abdolreza Rostamian (tenor), and Farshid Tabloie (baritone), alongside CI-360 co-founder Golrokh Aminian (soprano), will be performing a selection of classic opera arias accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra and 16-member choir conducted by JUNO-nominated composer Saman Shahi. Shahi has also re-orchestrated the music to accommodate these instrumental forces. Meanwhile, director Kamran Aminian, storyteller Arianna Aminian, and the stage & costume designers Amir Rahbar and Morvarid Alinejad will bring the unique worlds of each opera to life, while tracing a cohesive journey between each of them.
Golrokh Aminian, in addition to serving as co-director and vocalist, has put her multilingual background to work for this production, crafting poetic, musical translations of each song. The songs are woven together by a dream recounted by our young narrator, who is confused about the notion of love.
Listeners will be treated to stirring, evocative Farsi renditions of important works such as Dido’s Lament by Purcell, Puccini’s O Mio Babino Caro, as well as excerpts from Verdi’s La Traviata, Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s the Magic Flute, and other cornerstones of the operatic repertoire. They will also include a rare performance of Saghi be Noore Bade, an aria by Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948), from his 1937 opera Koroghlu.
Under Iran’s Islamic Regime, opera became a heavily politicized artform—banned, in fact. The 1979 revolution brought an end to the nascent opera community which had only been active for 18 years. Opera’s secular content (depictions of earthly love, for instance), and the participation of female vocalists, were deemed objectionable by the regime, opposing its strict religious-derived laws. Even prior to the 1979 upheaval, the European languages of opera libretti and art-song texts had posed an obstacle for these genres in terms of reaching a more mainstream status among the Iranian populace.
A Window To A Dream will indeed broach the history of opera in Iran, but its primary purpose is to offer an opera primer to Iranian audiences and other Farsi-speaking communities. It’s at once a celebration and reclamation of this cherished body of work.
A Window to a Dream
Presented by Cultural Interchange-360
Friday, 23 September 2022, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts: 10268 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3B7
Soprano: Golrokh Aminian
Tenor: Abdolreza Rostamian
Baritone: Farshid Tabloie
Conductor & Arrangement: Saman Shahi
Director: Kamran Aminian
Narrator: Arianna Aminian
Stage & Costume Design: Amir Rahbar & Morvarid Alinejad.
Tickets: $48.12 – $79.80
Over the past five years, Cultural Interchange-360 has been mounting elaborate musical presentations throughout the Greater Toronto Area, all of which have situated music within broader thematic frameworks that merge various artforms, languages, and cultural elements. Featuring the work of local musicians and composers their past productions have fused the classical traditions of Europe, with those of the Persian/modal lineage. Co-founders and co-directors, Golrokh Aminian and Amir Rahbar are both of Iranian descent and each one’s artistic practice is informed by thorough training in European idioms. Aminian, a vocalist, was a soprano in the Roudaki Hall of Tehran, before coming to Canada and studying at the Royal Conservatory and under several renowned sopranos. Rahbar, a pianist, started his music training on accordion and tonbak, and subsequently studied piano and the language of European classical music with a host of notable Iranian scholars.
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