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Curtain to be raised on PhD's Iranian opera

The Doll Behind the Curtain, an opera written by PhD student Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour, will be performed for the first time at London's prestigious Tête à Tête festival this summer.

The work, which will be premiered at the festival's Kings Place venue on 6 and 7 August, is a modern operatic staged adaptation of the Iranian modernist Hedayat's short story of the same title.

Amir, who is researching musical composition at Brunel, said: "Set in the 1930s, it is an intense, imaginative story of a young man's fascination with a silent statue behind a boutique window.

"Captivated by her mysterious beauty, he carries the statue back to Iran, where his infatuation and inner conflict leads him to an act which will destroy his own life and the life of his fiancée who has struggled to compete with her silent rival."

It is scored for six singers, a chamber ensemble of 11 musicians, a dancer, choreographer, conductor and director. 

Amir began his PhD in 2010 as part of the composition course led by Professor Peter Wiegold and Professor Christopher Fox. Amir developed his skills on the Aldeburgh Festival's English song writing course.

Amir added: "This proved to be invaluable as it hugely increased my understanding of writing music to compliment the libretto, and to delve into the complexities of the English language through song."

Amir collaborated with Professor Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at the National Film and Television School, who began adapting Hedayat's story. Finding opportunities for parts of his opera to be performed in parts, such as at workshops in London, helped further to shape Amir's musical ideas.

To book tickets to The Doll Behind the Curtain, visit the Tête à Tête festival website. For more information about his work, view Amir's website.