Workshop reading with orchestra
Music by Mohammed Fairouz
Libretto by Mohammed Fairouz and Mohammed Hanif
featuring Nathan Gunn and Yvonne Gonzalez Redman
Donald Schleicher, Conductor
Lyric Theatre’s Preview Performance of the 2015-2016 season was the world’s first orchestra reading of Bhutto, an opera about three Pakistani leaders: Zulfikar Bhutto, General Zia ul Haq, and Benazir Bhutto. With an original score by the fiercely talented Mohammed Fairouz (Sumeida’s Song) and libretto by Fairouz and critically acclaimed journalist and novelist Mohammed Hanif (BBC, A Case of Exploding Mangoes,) and featuring Nathan Gunn as Zulfikar Bhutto, Lyric Theatre students, and the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Bhutto was the first joint commission of Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects.
“… Mr. Fairouz’s multilayered music catches the complexities and crosscurrents of this family and the grim realities of their lives… There are hints of various Western contemporary idioms in his musical language: American neoRomanticism; stretches of near-atonality that evoke Berg; astringent washes of sounds that seem inspired by Ligeti, who was one of Mr. Fairouz’s teachers. Yet the Arabic elements of his style— microtonal modes, spiraling dance rhythms, plaintive melodic writing—give fresh, distinctive jolts to the Western elements… It would be rewarding to hear Sumeida’s Song with its full orchestration in a larger space. But this gripping chamber version shows the dramatic potential of black-box opera.” —Anthony Tommasini, New York Times