Iranian and American musicians join forces to spread joy in the midst of the pandemic

Iranian and American musicians join forces to spread joy in the midst of the pandemic

A group of Iranian and American musicians are using digital media to create music together, hoping it will spread joy and promote unity at a time when the two closely related countries are withdrawing from the coronavirus pandemic.

Singers from Washington, DC-based opera company IN series and members of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra collaborated via video and other digital media to perform a performance of the “Serse” by German-British composer George Frideric Handel, an operatic series based on the story of Xerxes I of Persia .

A video of the performance was released this week, produced with the help of the Iran Friendship Association of American Friendship (NAIFA).

In the video, 19 musicians performed the musical composition in a socially distant setting in Tehran’s famous Roudaki Hall, while seven American opera singers in Washington sang.

The performance was superimposed on poetry recitations by Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and philosopher.

Fatemeh Keshavarz, director of the Roshan Institute of Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, and Vahid Abideh, founder of NAIFA, came up with the idea in April.

In addition to a beautiful performance, Abideh told CNN that they wanted to combine Western music with Persian poetry to help resolve the cultural divide between the United States and Iran.

“Musicians on both sides are enormously excited to help us transcend the toxic threats of war and sanctions, elevate ourselves above politics, and recognize mutual art and humanity,” Keshavarz said in a communiqué.

“This is especially needed at a time like this when the world is on the verge of a fierce pandemic,” he said. “It’s time to see each other’s humanity and help each other heal. Nothing can do this better than art.”

Timothy Nelson, artistic director of the IN series, described the collaboration as an effort to “make the impossible possible.”

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