Composition by MOHAMMED FAIROUZ
Based on the play “The Song of Death” by TAWFIQ EL-HAKIM
Directed by DAVID HERSKOVITZ | Music Directed by STEVEN OSGOOD
Scenic Design by PIHLSTROM | Costume Design by ALIXANDRA ENGLUND
Lighting Design by LENORE DOXSEE
World-premiere co-produced by BMP and HERE for PROTOTYPE Festival, 2013
The World Premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s opera Sumeida’s Song on the HERE Main Stage for PROTOTYPE was the first Arab-American opera to be fully produced on an American stage. Based on the classic Tawfiq El-Hakim play, Song of Death, the opera follows the return of a young man, Alwan, from Cairo to his Upper Egyptian peasant village. He defies his family’s expectations to fulfill an age-old blood feud, instead revealing the true purpose of his return: to end the cycle of violence. For his attempts to bring light and modernity to his village, and for challenging the structure of his society, he pays the ultimate price. Tawfiq El-Hakim's story is well known in the Arab World, and Fairouz’s operatic adaptation captures the underlying aspirations of young people, like Alwan, who stand up for their ideals and for aspirations of a better life. Alwan's resonant proclamation — "I won’t kill" — embodies the noble mission of justice and progress in this timeless, timely, and universal story.
This world-premiere production featured a chamber orchestration with Arabic and western instruments, with singers mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, Dan Kempson, Edwin Vega, and Amelia Watkins.
"One of the most talented composers of his generation"
-BBC World News
“Sumeida’s Song is an intensely dramatic 60-minute four-character opera with a searing score that deftly draws from Arabic and Western contemporary musical sources."
-New York Times
.."the Arabic elements of his style — microtonal modes, spiraling dance rhythms, plaintive melodic writing — give fresh, distinctive jolts to the Western elements." - -New York Times
"The Production… could not be more effective."
-New York Times