Tickets are already selling out in Tehran for Hadi Rozat’s adaptation of Richard Rodger’s 1959 musical and Robert Wise’s highly acclaimed world famous film “The Sound of Music“, which will go on stage at the Vahdat Theater, Tehran. The opera house in Tehran was built in 1967 and was part-based on the Vienna State Opera, yet has hosted no operas and musicals in recent years. Now, on stage during the Fajr Festival in January 2014, a live cast will sing and act the story of Maria and the Von Trapps escaping Nazi-occupied Austria in Iran for the first time. It is of note that Rosat’s Tehran Opera Ensemble were also recently the first to stage any opera since the revolution, in March 2013 (pictured below) for which the female singers wore wigs and costume hair covers, rather than the ordinary hejab. For a video report of their March performance, see below.
The Persian title for “The Sound of Music” Tehran production is ‘Ashkha va Labkhandha‘ (literally meaning “Tears and Laughter” or “Tears and Smiles”).
Before 1979 there were successful adaptations into Persian of Western musicals such as George Cukor’s My Fair Lady but these were only of the films, and it has been at least a generation since these were intensely popular and none have been staged. Meanwhile the Persian language voice actors were given as much acclaim as the on screen actors themselves.
When voice over artist Ali Kasmai passed away his obituaries titles him “the father of Iranian voice acting“. Kasmai had worked in 1954 as the director of group of voice actors for “Prince of Foxes” (1949), for Henry King’s film adapted from Samuel Shellabarger’s novel “Prince of Foxes” and also directed the voice actors for George Cukor’s “My Fair Lady” (1964), David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) amongst other acclaimed film adaptations.
For the first opera performance by The Tehran Opera Ensemble back in March 2103, there was a full house including many diplomatic workers in Iran including Dr. Tomas Bux Bum the Austria ambassador, Luca Johnsanti and Carlo Cherti , the ambassador and cultural diplomat of Italy, Jen Pitter Jamproud the Norwergian ambassador, Harry Comranin the Finnish ambassador, Rose Hans the Swiss diplomat and other embassy employees all gathered in the Vahdat Hall where the piece was on stage for five consecutive nights.
The ensemble director Hadi Rosat also sings Baritone and has toured to Austria in 2009, amongst other places as a performer. It will be interesting to see how his next stage production will be received.
SOUND AND MUSIC THEATRICAL Video