On May 14, the work of London-born, Iranian librettist Niloufar Talebi played center stage as part of VisionIntoArt's inaugural Ferus Festival at The Stone. Consisting of multimedia-rich video and theatrical creations narrated by Talebi, as well as excerpts from a song cycle and one-act chamber opera, the evening included music by a wide range of composers and texts addressing various points in Persian/Iranian history.
The concert opened with Night, a video-poem inspired by the poetry of Majid Naficy, with translation and narration by Talebi and music by Hafez Modirzadeh and Mohamad Nejad accompanied by percussionist Royal Hartigan. The next theatrical work, Icarus/Rise, featured Talebi as author and as narrator accompanied with music by the Iranian multi-instrumentalist Bobak Salehi, percussionist Ian Ding, and others.
Selections of two expansive works with original librettos concluded the evening: Atash Sorushan (Fire Angels), a song cycle with music by composer and sound designer Mark Grey and performed by soprano Cree Carrico and pianist Mila Henry here presented in both piano reduction and an earlier recorded chamber version performed by soprano Jessica Rivera with Molly Morkoski on piano and the Meme Ensemble; and The Disinherited, a one-act chamber opera with music by Clarice Assad and performed as a work-in-progress by mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel and Henry again on piano.
VisionIntoArt (VIA), the multimedia company co-founded at the Juilliard School in 1999 by composer Paola Prestini has commissioned works from composers, choreographers, poets, filmmakers and other artists, with particular emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaborative projects.
This concert was recorded and mixed by Jay Eigenmann.