Merola Opera Program & Niloufar Talebi

Program Area(s)
Grantee NameMerola Opera Program
AddressWar Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA, 94012
United States

Niloufar Talebi is creating a new opera, Abraham in Flames, inspired by the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou. The work is conceived by and features a libretto by Talebi and music composed by Aleksandra Vrebalov. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Shamlou (1925-2000) is among Iran’s most celebrated literary figures. Talebi knew Shamlou from his participation in her parents’ literary salons in the years after Iran’s 1979 revolution. Abraham in Flames, the title of one of Shamlou’s seminal books, is a biblical metaphor for the purity of truth-seekers.

Merola Opera Program offers an advanced training program for opera artists that takes place during the summer. Roy Rallo, who has a long association with Merola Opera, will recruit and direct a cast of the Merola program’s professional alumni for Abraham in Flames. The project will culminate with a 60-minute performance written for and sung in English by Merola Opera alumni soloists and the San Francisco Girls Chorus — accompanied by piano, vibraphone, and small ensemble. Live performances will take place at the Fort Mason Center as part of FMC Presents, with a 30-minute workshop in fall 2017 and a full-length premiere in 2018-19.

Grant Amount$40000
Project Dates10/10/16 - 10/31/19
Serving United States/California/San Francisco/San Francisco

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