‘We, The Innumerable’–an opera from Iranian composer and 2019 Hildegard winner Niloufar Nourbakhsh–tells the story of one Iranian woman's fight for the truth in the face of state violence and repression. Presented by National Sawdust and Center for Contemporary Opera.

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October 21, 2022
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We, The Innumerable–an opera from Iranian composer and 2019 Hildegard winner Niloufar Nourbakhsh–tells the story of one Iranian woman's fight for the truth in the face of state violence and repression. Set against the backdrop of the 2009 Iranian Green Movement, this opera follows Roya and her husband Siavash after they become state targets for participating in nationwide protests of the presidential election result. After Siavash's murder, an imprisoned Roya must choose between parroting the state's lie about his death or telling the truth. With this piece, composer Nourbakhsh and librettist Lisa Flanagan integrate authentic Iranian instruments into the European-derived form of the opera, pushing the form beyond Western conventions. While deeply embedded in an Iranian context, We, The Innumerable tells the universal and timely story of a divided nation and the choices we make while battling injustice. 

Co-presented with the Center for Contemporary Opera.

Photo credit: Milad Avazbeigi; Video credits: Produced by Beth Morrison Projects as part of BMP: Next Gen 2021

Described as “stark” by WNPR and “darkly lyrical” by the New York Times, a winner of the Second International Hildegard commission award, a 2019 recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant, and winner of Beth Morrison Projects Next Generation competition, Niloufar Nourbakhsh’s music has been performed at numerous festivals and venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. A founding member and co-director of Iranian Female Composers Association, Nourbakhsh is a strong advocate of music education and equal opportunities. She is currently an adjunct faculty at Molloy College and co-director of Peabody Conservatory Laptop Orchestra. Niloufar holds a doctoral degree from Stony Brook University and regularly performs with her Ensemble Decipher.

National Sawdust has partnered with Artistic Freedom Initiative for this event:

Dedicated to safeguarding the right to free artistic expression, Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) has developed an integrated advocacy approach to champion the rights of persecuted and censored artists through direct legal services, artist resettlement assistance, arts programming, and policy advocacy. AFI has taken on over 1,000 at-risk artist cases and provided more than $3 million in pro bono legal and resettlement assistance since 2017.

Oct 21

Niloufar Nourbakhsh's 'We, The Innumerable'