Be­hzad Abdi

BBC Music Magazine - - Opera -

Rumi

Mo­ham­mad Mo­tamedi, Ho­may­oun Sha­jar­ian, Sul­maz Badri, Sara Reza­zadeh, Mal­i­heh Mo­radi, Mostafa Mah­moudi, Sad­jad Pourghanad, Kay­van Farzin, Ali Yari, Reza Na­jafi, Ali Kho­daei, Hos­sein Alishapour, Mo­ham­madreza Sadeghi, Ali Na­jafi , Eh­san Nasiri, Me­hdi Emami, Es’haq An­var, Me­hdi Javar, Amer Shad­man; Credo Cham­ber Choir; Na­tional Sym­phony Orches­tra of Ukraine/ Vladimir Sirenko

Naxos 8.660424-25 104:19 mins (2 discs) Thir­teen­th­cen­tury poet, mys­tic, the­olo­gian and scholar Jalal al-din Rumi, oth­er­wise known sim­ply as Rumi, is now revered around the globe. ★is mys­te­ri­ous and com­pas­sion­ate writ­ings fre­quently ex­plored the power of mu­sic and po­etry to make sense of a com­plex, con­flict­stricken world, and this in­trigu­ing and timely col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ira­nian com­poser Be­hzad Abdi and li­bret­tist Behrouz Gharibpour cel­e­brates the great poet’s life in a strik­ing new op­er­atic work.

The opera re­lates a se­ries of en­coun­ters be­tween Rumi and his clos­est com­pan­ion and spir­i­tual guide Shams Tabrizi, set against a back­drop of the vi­o­lent Mon­go­lian in­va­sions of Cen­tral Asia. Abdi’s score is a fas­ci­nat­ing blend of west­ern clas­si­cal mu­sic and dastg h (the Ira­nian mu­si­cal modal sys­tem). Some of the purely or­ches­tral pas­sages, of­ten per­cus­sion-heavy, can at times feel un­com­fort­ably rem­i­nis­cent of Rim­sky-ko­r­sakov’s Ori­en­tal­ist turn, but this is per­haps largely due to the ef­fect of non­west­ern modal pat­terns per­formed by a West­ern sym­phony orches­tra. The vo­cal writ­ing, strongly shaped by the Per­sian clas­si­cal tra­di­tion, is Abdi’s strong­est suit and this record­ing fea­tures a no­tably fine per­for­mance from Mo­ham­mad Mo­tamedi who sings with out­stand­ing rich­ness and range as Rumi, while ★omay­oun Sha­jar­ian brings an ur­gent melan­choly to the role of Shams.

A copy of the li­bretto and its trans­la­tion in the sleeve notes would have been in­valu­able, as the sparse syn­op­sis pro­vided can make fol­low­ing the drama chal­leng­ing

and we miss the nuance of Behrouz Gharibpour’s text (and its ex­ten­sive quo­ta­tions of Rumi’s po­etry). This is none­the­less an ex­cit­ing, en­rich­ing and highly com­mend­able re­lease. Kate Wake­l­ing

PER­FOR­MANCE

RECORD­ING

A mas­ter­class in con­flict: Wozzeck (Go­erne) bul­lied by the Doc­tor (Larsen)

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