Culture Music

Opera reflecting Nizami Ganjavi’s poetry to be performed in Berlin


Nader Mashayekhani

Nader Mashayekhani, the highly acclaimed Iranian musician, is set to compose an opera based on Nizami Ganjavi’s literary works. Ganjavi is one of the most romantic, epic poets in the history of Persian Literature. Mashayekhi has been commissioned by the Berlin State Opera to compose an opera reflecting his colloquial style which he brought to literature.

Mashayekani was once the conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, and as Iran is receiving more attention worldwide nowadays, there are elements of the culture which they wish to present to the rest of the world. The opera serves as a means for Iran to share their literary and musical talent and once Mashayakeni’s task is complete, a German orchestra will perform the opera to audiences in March 2017.


One of Ganjavi’s poems: Khosrow Parviz discovers Shirin bathing in a pool

Ganjavi’s works focused largely on female characters and the opera really brings these characters to life onstage. Another poet, Ferdowsi, featured women as heroes in his poetry, whereas Ganjavi’s work reflects the characters of each woman.

One of Ganjavi’s greatest works is his Khamseh, a pentalogy of narrative poems which were added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register list in 2011. His Khamseh is written in Masnavi verses, or rhyming couplets, making up a total of 30,000 couplets.

Included among these memorable poems is Makhzan al-Asrar (The Treasury of Mysteries), and traditional love stories of Khosrow and Shirin, Leili and Majnun. There are also his famous works of Haft Paykar, and the Eskandar-nameh, which gives an account of the adventures of Alexander the Great.