The music of Iranian composer Behzad Abdi fuses dastgāh (the Iranian modal system) with Western classical forms. He wrote Iran’s first national opera, Rumi, and Hafez also exemplifies his approach to the medium.
The opera’s subject is the great Persian poet and mystic Hafez, whose sonnets and poetry are still widely read across the Persian-speaking world today. Behrouz Gharibpour’s libretto traces the poet’s tribulations, memories of keeping his poems from being destroyed by a despotic government and subsequent exile.
Abdi’s polytonal technique serves to reflect the unique concepts of Hafez’s 14th-century poetry with passion, lyricism and power.
Anyone interested in the development of opera, particularly in a language and style strange to European ears, will find this interesting and well worth some attention, however with an opera needing with thirteen tenors and five baritones accompanied by just two mezzos and two sopranos, your are certainly going to find something different.
It's a pity there is no libretto, but there is a detailed synopsis fully explaining the action.
Reviewer: Paul Foss