Aftab Darvishi at the Holland Festival 2019

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On June 5 and 6 the new opera ‘Turan Dokht’ of Aftab Darvishi will be performed at the Holland Festival in the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. The libretto is written by Miranda Lakerveld. Read more about this very intriguing opera…   

The opera Turan Dokht (‘Daughter of Turan’) corrects a historical inaccuracy. Composer Aftab Darvishi and director Miranda Lakerveld’s ‘intercultural rewriting’ of Puccini’s beloved opera Turandot (1924) returns the title character to her Persian homeland. In Puccini’s work she is a cruel Chinese princess who has all her suitors decapitated. The mystical Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209) reveals that she was actually a queen of Turan. With this epic narrative and Puccini’s music in mind, the young Iranian Aftab Darvishi composed new music blended with authentic Iranian elements. Nilper Orchestra, the only chamber orchestra for new music in Iran, and mezzo soprano Ekaterina Leventhal in the title role will show Turan’s daughter as you have never heard or seen her before.

The opera Turan Dokht by Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi and director/librettist Miranda Lakerveld is set in 5th-century Persia. A prince intends to choose a wife out of seven princesses, each of whom has a pavilion in a different colour. The red princess tells the story of Turan Dokht, presenting him with riddles to test his self-knowledge and moral virtue. This story forms part of the epic poem Haft Peykar (‘The Seven Beauties’) written by the 12th-century Persian mystic and scholar Nizami Ganjavi. It’s a mystical frame narrative in which the symbolism of the number seven plays a key role. The protagonist in the beloved opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini is based on this princess but, inspired by Carlo Gozzi’s version of the story, librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni moved the story to China and made Turandot into a vengeful princess who kills her suitors. In Turan Dokht, composer Darvishi and librettist Lakerveld bring Turandot back to her origins. Where the princess in the Puccini opera is a female Bluebeard, Turan Dokht is about an inner search for self-knowledge and humility. Puccini had already combined Eastern and Western elements in his opera. Darvishi, who was born in Iran and completed her music education in the Netherlands, takes this one step further. Her music for the Nilper Orchestra, which is complemented by Iranian percussion and a kamancheh (an Iranian bowed string instrument), is based on Western tonality, but with flourishes derived from Iranian music. Darvishi’s use of repetition gives voice to the mystical aspects of Nazimi’s text. The performance includes projections created by Siavash Naghshbandi based on the miniature paintings illustrating Haft Peykar.

More info & Tickets

Read the article (Dutch) in the Groene Amsterdammer

Website Aftab Darvishi