Reading Lolita in Tehran Opera

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library

Reading Lolita in Tehran Opera

DC Reads Excerpts Performance

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Natalie BarrensCarolyn Black-SotirMichael LangloisOne Book. One City. One Good Read.

Come join us in the Great Hall on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. as Elisabeth Mehl Greene's chamber opera brings Azar Nafisi's bestselling work to music. 

The libretto, co-written with Iranian-American poet Mitra Motlagh, retells Nafisi's experiences teaching Western literature after the Iranian Revolution, first in the classroom, and then in secret to a group of young women students.  By reflecting the challenges of her reading group through the prism of Lolita, Gatsby, James, and Austen, Nafisi both paints a picture of the grim realities of Revolutionary Iran and shows how literature provides universal insights into the human condition.
The opera score draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including both the popular and folk music traditions of Iran, as well as music of the literature of the Reading Lolita in Tehran, from Jane Austen to The Great Gatsby.  Like blending of past and present literary work in the novel, the music melds sounds from diverse geography and history into the contemporary opera form. 

The excerpts to be presented will give the audience a sampling of the full-length work. The performance will feature vocalists Natalie Barrens and Carolyn Black-Sotir, accompanied by Michael Langlois with a discussion of how the opera came into being by composer, Elisabeth Mehl Greene.

For ages 16 to adult.