Niloufar Talebi


Abraham in Flames

Date and Time: Wednesday May 31 8:00 PM
Duration: 60 minutes (no intermission) 
Location: Gallery 308

Post-Performance Q&A with Audience: 9:00 PM

Ticket Information

General Admission: $25
Reserved Table: $28
Discounts for Full-Time Students with ID & Seniors: $21 

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Artist Information


Work Sample



A dramatic reading of the libretto and paratext of a new opera inspired by the life and writings of the Nobel-prize-nominated Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000). There will be a Q&A talkback session with Ms. Talebi following the reading. Abraham in Flames is conceived and written by Niloufar Talebi with composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and director Roy Rallo, featuring the Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco, Merola Opera Program soloists, and The Living Earth Show, and is scheduled to premiere and be presented at the Festival in the 2018/2019 season. Ahmad Shamlou is a celebrated figure in Iranian literature, a poet, writer, translator, encyclopedist, and activist, who pioneered a great modernist revolution. In form and imagery, his poems often allude to classical Persian literature, and also to Rimbaud, Lorca, Dante and Shakespeare. Niloufar Talebi personally knew Ahmad Shamlou from his participation in her parents’ literary salons in Tehran in the tumultuous years after the 1979 Iranian revolution. Shamlou is unknown to Western audiences because of the difficulty of translating his work. Talebi was chosen for a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for her translations of Shamlou’s work.


Niloufar Talebi is a writer, award-winning translator, and multidisciplinary artist. She is the Editor/Translator of "Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World" (North Atlantic Books, 2008), translator of Vis & I (l’Aleph, 2017), and Creator/Performer of multimedia works including “ICARUS/RISE” and “Persian Rite of Spring.” She was a librettist Resident Artist with the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and the American Lyric Theater where she developed her first operas (The Investment, 2015, and The Disinherited, 2014, respectively). As a librettist, she has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Fire Angels, 2011), VisionIntoArt and the Young People's Chorus of NYC (Epiphany, 2015) presented by the BAM Next Wave Festival, and the LA Children's Chorus (The Plentiful Peach) presented by Stanford Live. Talebi’s work received accolades from the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, and SF Classical Voice.

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