Marie-Ève Signeyrole und Keyvan Chemirani

Information on the piece

Music theatre by Marie-Ève Signeyrole and Keyvan Chemirani [*1968];
Text by Marie-Ève Signeyrole and Sonia Hossein-Pour
World premiere 29 October 2022

recommended from 15 years

approx. 2 hours 10 minutes / No intermission

In French and Farsi with German and English surtitles

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Co-production with the Opéra Orchestre National de Montpellier Occitaine. Supported by Förderkreis der Deutschen Oper Berlin e. V. Presented by Siegessäule and taz

About the performance

Tehran, 2013: Social life is made up of contradictions. Despite severe restrictions, Iran's capital boasts a lively night life. A young generation is working underground to create free spaces of expression in a place where any transgressions can lead to brutal reprisals from the authorities. Shirin discovers this world after returning to Iran following a decades-long absence, and reunites with her childhood friends Negar and Aziz. This reunion awakens old memories, and confronts the trio with the question of their own identity. What follows is a search for the familiar amongst the alien, for one's own self and how it is reflected in another. When a passionate romance forms between the three in the process, their meeting also becomes an act of resistance and self-assertion in a system of oppression and surveillance.

"I didn't want to write about myself, but about a feeling that everyone who has been torn between cultures has experienced. The feelings connected with this uprooting and return are universal, not bound to one place." – Director Marie-Ève Signeyrole

NEGAR tells of longings and projections that arise when different worlds collide. Two years ago, Marie-Ève Signeyrole and French-Iranian dramaturg Sonia Hossein-Pour began conducting journalistic research and interviewing young people from Tehran for this work commissioned by the Deutsche Oper Berlin. As with other productions, Signeyrole used these materials to create a piece of musical theatre fiction.

For the musical score, Keyvan Chemirani blends various musical styles and genres together. In an intermingling of improvised and sheet music, artists play traditional instruments from Iran alongside members of the Deutsche Oper Berlin orchestra. Singers from the opera ensemble are accompanied by guests such as Tehrani artist Golnar Shahyar, who combines Iranian music with jazz and improvised vocals.

Keyvan Chemirani tours internationally as a zarb player, mostly with his Trio Chemirani, but also with jazz greats like Sylvain Luc, Didier Lockwood, and Louis Sclavis, big names from world music, and ensembles specialising in early music. Chemirani has numerous recordings available, including the albums Le Rhythme de la Parole (2004), Battements au Coeur de ‘Orient together with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (2007), and Avaz (2014).

Filmmaker Marie-Ève Signeyrole is one of the most successful international opera directors of the younger generation. Among the venues where she has worked are the Opéra Montpellier, the Philharmonie de Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper München, and the Staatsoper Hannover. Her production BABY DOLL was performed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2020.

Our articles on the subject

Love and fear in a world of the dictatorship
Between Teheran, Paris and Berlin


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Today in the Foyer: "Beyond the Snow Queen"
with Alexandra Ionis, Oliver Boyd and Henriette Zahn
17.00 hrs / Rank foyer on the right
Duration: approx. 25 minutes / free admission

Since its premiere in 2019, THE SNOW QUEEN has been delighting not only children in the Tischlerei of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This year, too, there are numerous performances on the programme. All the greater is the joy that Alexandra Ionis and Henriette Zahn from the cast of DIE SCHNEEKÖNIGIN have teamed up to create a little door of the Advent calendar. Together with Oliver Boyd, baritone in the chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, they present a colourful programme. In addition to Brahms, Schönberg and Kurt Weill, songs by the composer of the SCHNEEKÖNIGIN, Samuel Penderbayne, and his teacher Moritz Eggert will be heard as a special highlight.

Alexandra Ionis from Berlin studied at the Conservatorio di musica Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 2016 she made her debut in Strauss' DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Other productions here at the house included DEATH IN VENICE, IL VIAGGIO A REIMS and IL TROVATORE. At the Staatsoper Unter den Linden she sang in Widmann's BABYLON, Reimann's GESPENSTERSONATE, the world premiere of Eötvös' SLEEPLESS, in DER ROSENKAVALIER and most recently in the new production of DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN as Schwertleite / DIE WALKÜRE.

Henriette Zahn is a pianist specialising in chamber music and song interpretation and studied in Munich, Lübeck and most recently in Wolfram Rieger's Lied class at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music Berlin. She has performed with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, the Karajan Academy, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra and the Goldmund Quartet, among others. Performances have taken her to the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Schauspielhaus Hamburg, the Bremen Theatre, the Salzburg Festival and the Allerheiligen Hofkirche in Munich. She has worked closely with the composer Samuel Penderbayne and the pianist Anna Buchberger.

Oliver Boyd studied at the Queensland Conservatorium with vocal coach Gregory Massingham and at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin with Christine Schäfer. In September 2018, Oliver Boyd sang the lead role of Reverend Calloway in Paul Dean's opera DRY RIVER RUN. In 2017 he made his concert debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the role of Dancairo / CARMEN. As a soloist he has appeared in Handel's Messiah, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Haydn's Nelson and Paukenmesse, Mozart's Requiem, Vespers and Missa Brevis, and Schubert's Mass in G major. Oliver Boyd has won numerous prizes, including first prize in the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria Competition and Champion of Champions in the Queensland Eisteddfod. He was named as one of the Brisbane Lord Mayor's Young Artists. Since the 2021/22 season, Oliver Boyd has been a member of the 1st bass voice section in the chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.