Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Poster for Mesopotamian Night 2010

A new poster just arrived. Designed by Fred Isaac a member of Mesopotamian Night project team. Special thanks to his selfless volunteerism.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cellist Volunteers for The Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra

As we prepare for the formation of The Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra, we would like to introduce our audience to Robin Johnson-Purto who recently contacted our team to volunteer her time as a musician and cellist to Mesopotamian Night project.

In her email she wrote "Being human, is to make a difference in this world where one is able. Whether it be through ones talent, volunteering of a service or a simple donation. It is always done with, love, compassion and within ones means. There are many things that we all take for granted in this world that others do not have such as a simple book to learn from, clothes on our back, shoes to walk in, food on our table, and or a roof over our heads. It brings me great joy when I can contribute talent to a cause where it is needed such as this and hope that my contribution in playing music will open others eyes, ears, and hearts to others in doing the same back."

About Robin Johnson-Purto

Robin Purto, who recently moved from Albuquerque New Mexico to Modesto, had been an active member with the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra as a cellist for ten years. She also served two terms as secretary on the board for the Albuquerque Philharmonic.

She had studied and played the cello since the age of 10. She also studied at the University of New Mexico in the Princeton Play week chamber music workshops. During her youth in high school, she was a participant with her symphony for the International Music Festival held in Vienna Austria. This was a special invite for the group to represent the United States. During that time she had the opportunity to play and tour in the great opera hall in Vienna, Frankfurt Germany and Salsburg Germany. She has volunteered frequently during each school year working with beginning, intermediate and advanced cello students at Grant Middle School. In the summer months she also worked with a quartet group of youths bringing music into the local nursing homes. Robin was the founder of a christian music duo, Musical Praises, performing for a wide range of church activities as well as hired events. This also included bringing music into several local Nursing homes in the form of singing, playing guitar and cello. This past summer she played in Land Mark's Production of the “Music Man”. For the past two seasons she also played in the Italian Film Festival gala opening ceremonies. This season the University of New Mexico held a Faure concert fundraiser event for the music department in which Robin also sat principal chair with the orchestra.

On a professional career level, Robin has worked within the health care field for more than 20 years serving within the business accounting departments. She recently was a five year employee for New Mexico Orthopedics Association in Albuquerque, working within the accounts receivable department.

Robin is of Polish and Swedish decent born in West Bend Wisconsin, but raised in Albuquerque New Mexico since age five. She married in 1985 to her husband an Assyrian, who's father migrated to the United States from Baghdad Iraq in the year of 1956. The schools she attended were Eldorado High, Rockland Community College in the state of New York, National Business college in Albuquerque and Central New Mexico Community College. Certificates earned are Deans list, managements skills, Business, accounting, and muscular dystrophy fund raising. In her spare time she enjoys attending cultural events, weight training, running, biking, spending time with her two daughters and son, ages 16, 17 and 20.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Artistic Consultant For Mesopotamian Night 2010

It is a pleasure to inform our audience that this year Matthew Buckman the executive director of Townsend Opera joins us as our artistic consultant and stage manager. Matthew has been instrumental to guide us in right direction during this year's extensive production. He guided us to start branding our own orchestra name (The Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra) and also gave us good guidance to reduce overall production costs.

Below is a brief summary of his out standing achievements.

Matthew Buckman became the first Executive Director of Townsend Opera on February 1, 2008 at the age of twenty-six, and has since led a major effort to make Townsend Opera a sustainable and thriving company during the illness and after the passing of its founding general director of twenty-five years.  Mr. Buckman came to Townsend Opera from the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Director of Development. During his tenure as Director of Development, Mr. Buckman restructured the development department, bringing new philosophies and programs that established a more accessible, donor-centered corporate sponsorship program, increased opportunities for donor engagement, developing and implementing new programs for solicitations, more systematic solicitation of potential donors, and increased planning capabilities. Prior to his appointment as Director of Development, Mr. Buckman served as Operations Manager and Development Assistant for the MSO, and Orchestra Manager for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Under his leadership, Townsend Opera has developed its first long-term strategic plan, undergone a major staff reorganization, engaged a principal conductor, a technical director, and a costumer, and successfully recruited a new artistic director. Mr. Buckman has initiated and developed groundbreaking partnerships with the CSU Stanislaus Department of Music, Modesto Junior College, and San Francisco Opera that have led to new heights of artistic excellence, and has developed partnerships with health and human services organizations to expand the impact of the company in the community. The education and outreach programs have been repositioned and expanded to better fill gaps in the public education system, and individual contributed income has increased by nearly 60 percent.

Mr. Buckman was born and raised in Fresno, California, where he studied architecture and music in high school. He pursued music in college, finishing his studies in Instrumental Performance at CSU Stanislaus in 2005. While in college, he served in elected and administrative roles in student government, giving him a strong foundation in governance, and also worked in recruitment for the Department of Music. Mr. Buckman played soccer at the collegiate level for four years, and it continues to be his primary hobby.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Artist Donates to Mesopotamian Night

The art auction part of the Mesopotamian Night event has been a fascinating success. Thanks to our dedicated artists we have been able to raise significant funds only from art auction. This year Odette Tomik for the first time is participating in our art auction. She has donated the following pieces to Mesopotamian Night project. If you would like to bid on these works early on please email us at

Ishtar Comes to Village
13/5 in 17/5 inch - oil , collage on cardboard

My People
3/5 in 17/5 inch - oil on cardboard

Below Odette tell us about herself:

My name is Odette Tomik. I was born in Tehran, Iran in 1964 in a Christian Assyrian family. Since my childhood, I was interested in painting that became my daily concern. I was only nine years old when I lost my father. His loss changed the course of our future life, my mother and my only brother. As time passed my brother and I were attracted to arts. I continued painting and he became a professor in playing classic guitar in Iran. I was only fifteen years old when the Islamic revolution took place. It took a few years for things to calm down.

Then in 1985 I was accepted in Al-Zahra University of Tehran in the field of painting. This institution is one of the rare universities designed to train only women. Distinguished professors such as Irandokht Mohases, Bahman Broujenie and Jaghoub Amamepich were among my professors. In 1991 I was graduated with a B.A degree.

Later I came in contact with the famous Assyrian Iranian painter, Hannibal Alkhas who advised me in the method and subjects of painting. His teaching has been of great value in my future accomplishment. He showed me the gate of ancient world. Then I started working on subjects related to Assyrians life, figures and mythology, and a collection of paintings on the subject of "Immigration". All those paintings were displayed in several exhibitions and biennials. In 2000 I immigrated to United States and I had an exhibition named “ Assyrian dance” in Los Angles in 2001.

My artistic accomplishment can be summarized as follows:


2001 The Museum Store Gallery, Los Angeles
2000 Abkar Gallery, Tehran
1999 Catholic Church, Tehran
1996 Valley Gallery, Tehran
1988 Al-Zahra University, Tehran


2010 Art Share Los Angeles
2005 Simi Valley Library, Los Angeles
2004 Assyrian Society of Los Angeles
2000 Saad Abad Museum, Tehran
1998 Contemporary Museum of Iran, Tehran
1997 Azadi Museum, Tehran
1990 Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran
1987 Azadi Museum, Tehran


Taught drawing at the University of Al-Zahra and Assyrian Society of Tehran.

Illustrated two books for Amir-Kabir Publication and also four training books.

Art manager of an agricultural scientific monthly publication called ”Sonboleh”.

Art manager for the Assyrians publication “Assyrian Message” in Tehran, Iran.

Private teaching in drawing and painting.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mesopotamin Night 2010 Commercial Video

Finally the first commercial video for Mesopotamian Night 2010 is completed. Special thanks to Sargon Alkurge our chapter treasurer and Jaeson Amarilla.

Introducing The Singers of “Ninos and Shamiram”

We gladly announce that Liisa Dávila and Brian Thorsett will be singing the cantata “Ninos and Shamiram” in Mesopotamian Night 2010 musical concert. Below is a short account to these two accomplished artists.

Liisa Dávila

Soprano Liisa Dávila has been heard as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Die Zauberflote), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon with California State University Opera Theatre in Sacramento, and will sing the role of Micaela in the Townsend Opera Player’s production of Carmen in Modesto, California in 2012. A winner of multiple competitions, Ms. Dávila is a recent San Francisco District winner and a Western Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and the prestigious West Bay Opera’s Maria and Ben Holt Scholarship. This year she won the First International Phyllis Osterhout Vocal Competition in Turlock, California, and placed third in the Washington International Vocal Competition in Washington, DC, and a semi-finalist for the Loren L. Zachary Competition in LA.

A talented performer, Ms. Dávila was selected from nation-wide auditions to participate in the Sherrill Milnes 2010 “Opera as Drama” program in New York for the V.O.I.C.Experience Foundation, and the OperaWorks 2009 Advanced Artist Summer Program in Los Angeles, California directed by Ann Baltz. Ms. Dávila’s concert work includes performances as soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Mozart’s C Minor Mass with the Academy of All Hallows in Sacramento, as well as Bach Cantatas 140 and 179 with the First Presbyterian Church of Roseville, Mozart’s Vespers Solemnes with San Joanquin Delta College, and other performances of Requiems by Rutter, Duruflé, Mozart, and Fauré. Liisa has had the pleasure of studying with Eilana Lappalainen, Dr. Robin Fisher, Marla Volovna, and Zoila Muñoz and performing in masterclasses with such greats as Frederica Vonstade, Fabrizio Melano, Gregory Buchalter, Luana DeVol and Sacramento Opera conductor Timm Rolek.

Brian Thorsett

Since taking to the operatic stage in 2001, tenor Brian Thorsett has been seen and heard in over 70 diverse operatic roles, ranging from Monteverdi to Britten, back to Rameau and ahead again to works composed especially for his talents. During the 2010-11 season, he returns to the roles Jupiter and Apollo in Semele, Acis in Acis & Galatea and adds the roles of Beppe in I Pagliacci, Gastone in La Traviata and Ninos in Michel Bosc’s lush Ninos & Shamiram.
As a concert singer Brian fosters a stylistically diversified repertoire of nearly 100 works, which has taken him to concert halls across the US and Europe. Future engagements include Evangelist and soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Mass in B Minor, the Seasons and Creation of Haydn, Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Purcell’s Hail, Birght Cecilia, Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Choral Fantasy and Mass in C, Mendelssohn’s Christus, Elijah and Lobgesang (Symphony No. 2), the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi, Schubert’s Intende Voci Orationis, Psalm 92 and Mass in E-Flat, Finzi’s Dies Natalis, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Britten’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal and Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings and a rare performance as Ishmael in Bernard Hermann’s Moby Dick.

An avid recitalist, Brian will be featured in recitals in San Francisco, San Jose and Half Moon Bay, CA presenting the music of Monteverdi, Grieg, Rossini, Enescu, Coates, Ginastera, Turina, Britten, and premieres of Nicholas Carlozzi. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist program and spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Assyrian Legacy

"The Assyrian Legacy" is a creation of young Assyrian composer George Somi which will be premiered at Mesopotamian Night 2010. In the article below, Obelit Yadgar is giving us a nice insight into this interesting piece of music.

Assyrian symphonic music is rare. Rather, ours is predominantly folk, church and popular music for voice, solo instrument or small ethnic ensemble. Surprisingly, for a musical nation known for the magnitude of art it has contributed to the world throughout the centuries, we have failed to embrace symphonic music. I can only hope in time that creative gap will close and that our new composers will create great works in the medium.

The good news, thanks to the Mesopotamian Night gala concert performances in the past four years, is that the noted French composer Michel Bosc and the equally prominent American John Craton have enriched the Assyrian musical sphere with impressive orchestral and operatic creations from works by William Daniel and Paulos Khofry. Also of note is the Assyrian composer Samuel Khangaldy’s oratorio Gilgamesh, a work in progress of which the overture was premiered at the 2009 concert to exceptionally high praise.

In their youth, the Hungarian composers Bela Bartok (1881-1945) and Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967), armed with recording machines, traveled throughout the countryside and collected vast amounts of Hungarian folk melodies. Years later they used those same melodies as settings for some of their great symphonic works.

Assyrian composers have a wealth of folk and traditional melodies at hand to inspire major symphonic and chamber compositions. The music does not necessarily have to be in the western classical tradition, maintains the young Assyrian composer George Somi, though he would like to see some heading in that direction.

Somi premieres selected movements from his orchestral suite The Assyrian Legacy at the Mesopotamian Night concert and art auction, August 21, at the Gallo Center for the Arts, in Modesto, California. Proceeds benefit needy Iraqi Assyrians.

In eight descriptive movements, the approximately 35-minute long work sweeps across Assyrian history with snapshots of a people’s bittersweet journey. “It illustrates the history of the Assyrian people through music much like motion picture sound tracks follow their respective stories via music,” explains Somi. “The piece has several motifs, each representing a particular emotion from, pride and triumph to sorrow and despair.”

The suite begins with Assyria’s glorious emergence as a world power. Intertwining various melodies, the second movement celebrates the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Hammurabi’s Law Codes are recognized in the third. The fourth movement sketches the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C.

“The fifth movement follows the second golden age of Assyrians: the rise of the Church of the East,” says Somi. “The main emotion I try to convey in this piece is hope. I incorporate church hymns into a thematic orchestration, not only conveying the story of the Assyrians, but also bestowing a sense of glory to the hymns.” The movement’s highlight is the five-part choir singing Ashen ammeh zmareykon.

Somi frames the sixth movement around the period of the Muslim conquest from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. “Though unrelated to Assyrians initially,” he notes, “the Muslim conquest would have dire consequences for Assyrians. It features discernibly Arab melodies, outlining not just the effect on Assyrians, but the rise of great Muslim cities like Damascus and Baghdad.”

In the seventh movement, he further expands the Muslim conquest’s direct effect on the Assyrians by painting a tragic picture of the genocide committed against our people. Starting with a solo piano playing a sad but hopeful melody, Somi lets the orchestra build on it, culminating in a march meant to symbolize the fight and strength still left in the Assyrians. “This covers the formation of Zow’aa, possibly the first Assyrian national political party since the fall of Nineveh,” he points out.

Yet in all the tragedy that marks the tumultuous journey of the Assyrians, Somi looks for a bright light in the eighth movement by reprising melodies and themes from previous movements as Assyrians celebrate in the promise of hope. At the same time, his music leaves a sense of a story that is, indeed, unfinished.

“The way I see it,” Somi says, “the story of the Assyrians has not concluded. They recovered from defeat once in history. They still retain a hope to persevere through modern times.”

Somi, who was born in Chicago, in 1988, exhibited a profound love for music early on. His mother recalls that at age 3, after hearing someone play the song “Happy Birthday” on the piano, he slipped behind the keyboard and repeated the song almost note by note. At age 7, he began piano studies. After moving to Phoenix, AZ, he joined the school band, playing tenor saxophone. “From then on,” he admits, “music became an integral part of who I was.”

A year later he was playing lead tenor in the Peoria Honor Jazz Band in Phoenix. “I fell in love with jazz in that year and have been playing it ever since,” Somi says. Although he gives a big nod to the jazz saxophone greats such Charlie Parker, Lester Young, John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon, he says Eric Marienthal, the lead alto for the Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, has captured his imagination with his solos. “They’re so funky and hip,” he says, “it’s hard not to get into it.”

Somi admits to having little interest in popular music, western or Assyrian, and, therefore, hears no discernible influence on his music from this genre. Although no expert on Assyrian popular music, Somi says, if he were to pick a favorite Assyrian popular artist, it would be singer and composer Ashur Bet Sargis for his intricate and well thought out melodies. “I believe Mr. Bet Sargis has the widest, most effective range of music,” he adds, “from lively tunes to ballads.”

Somi believes the biggest influence on his symphonic music comes from film and video-game composers such as John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Alan Silvestri and Jerry Goldsmith, among others. “I am frequently told that my music sounds like it belongs in movies or video games,” he says. One thing he does not believe in, he says, is composing filler music, something that is there just to lengthen the piece. Rather, he prefers strong melodies counter melodies.

At the same time, he points out that if he had to choose an Assyrian musical genre with the most influence on him as a composer, it would be Assyrian church music. “My command of our church hymns is in direct correlation with the fresh take on the them in the fifth movement of The Assyrian Legacy,” Somi explains.

Currently, while pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ, Somi plays lead tenor in Yavapai College’s Big Band II. He also serves as organist at the St. George Ancient Church of the East, in Phoenix. It is no surprise that the congregation has nicknamed him Beethoven.

“One of those impossible wishes I’ve had for a while now is to have been present at the premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” Somi says. “I know it would have brought tears to my eyes and made every hair on my body stand on end.”

Well, of course, that reaction is expected from a composer who, like the great Beethoven, began composing when only a boy. Somi wrote his first song at age 12. “Taking Action” was one of 12 songs chosen for performance at a musical event at the Phoenix Civic Plaza.

He began thinking seriously about composing music while a sophomore in high school. It was then that he realized how sparse Assyrian symphonic music was. How ironic, he believes, a nation that invented music and music notation is so poorly acquainted with it. Further, he believes music to be an integral part of a nation’s culture and that Assyrians must develop that.

A sense of duty to the Assyrian nation, as well as strong encouragement from his mother to write something about the Assyrians, led to his work on The Assyrian Legacy. He started the suite in his sophomore year in high school and still thinks the work is unfinished. Somi says he hopes The Assyrian Legacy is appropriate for an important event such as Mesopotamian Night gala concert.

“Music is one of the things that holds a culture together,” he says. “Call it a cultural epoxy. With our youth growing up in several nations across the world, we cannot afford to have a weak epoxy to hold us together. It must be stronger than ever.”

Obelit Yadgar
Writer and Master of Ceremonies

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ninos and Shamiram

Music: Michel Bosc
Poem: Yosip Bet Yosip

(painting: courtesy of Paul Batou, Los Angles)

The world knows her as Semiramis, Semiramide, Sammu-Rammat, Samira, Shamiram. To us, the Assyrians, she is simply Shamiram.

Numerous operas are based on this mythical Assyrian, including Semiramide by Domenico Cimarosa, Marcos Portugal, and, the most famous, Gioacchino Rossini. Now enter the cantata Ninos and Shamiram by the French composer Michel Bosc and the Assyrian poet Yosip Bet Yosip.

The cantata is among the highlights in this year’s Mesopotamian Night, a gala production of Assyrian classical and popular music with dance, on August 21, at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, California. In its fourth year, the Mesopotamian Night series is presented by the Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A) not only to showcase the Assyrian classical and popular performing arts but also to raise funds through tickets and its art auction for needy Iraqi Assyrians.

Many myths and legends surround the beautiful and shrewd Babylonian princess who became the Assyrian queen. According to one legend, a shepherd found Shamiram, born in the desert and reared by doves. Some historical accounts of her later life note Shamiram married King Shamsi-Adad V (or VII), and after his death, she ruled for a short time, until Adad-nirari III (or IV) ascended the Assyrian throne.

Shamiram appears as queen and goddess in some Assyrian mythological accounts of her life, and that she was the daughter of the fish goddess. Not only was she the founder of Babylon, Shamiram also gets the dubious credit for inventing the chastity belt, and also for being the first to turn young boys into eunuchs by castrating them. According one legend, she married King Ninos, who founded Nineveh, and after his death, ruled for many years. Her end came at the hands of her son. Finally, the beautiful Shamiram turned into dove and flew away.

Somewhere between myth and reality lies the truth about Shamiram’s life. Either way, this remarkable and colorful Assyrian legend continues as an ideal subject for literary and operatic works. Rabi Yosip’s song-poem, Ninos and Shamiram is one such example, set to Bosc’s musical score.

Rabi Yosip’s Ninos and Shamiram had its origin in an Assyrian song-poem he had heard in his teens in Tehran. Sung by a friend named Nimrod, from a mountain village in Urmia, the story was part of the Assyrian oral tradition, passed on from one generation to the next. It told of an encounter in a lush valley in the mountains between a hunter and a shepherdess.

Both melody and poem were different from what they are now, recalls Rabi Yosip. The poem had Persian, Turkish and Kurdish mixed in with Assyrian. It had rhyme but no meter. “Some years later I reshaped and refined the poem to reflect our Assyrian culture,” he says. “I also re-shaped the melody to make it happier, more romantic and beautiful.”

In the following years, as he matured in age and his knowledge of Assyrian history grew, he revised and expanded the poem into a more literary work. He also made some changes in the melody. By then he had heard many myths about the legendary King Ninos, who had met a shepherdess in the dessert named Shamiram and made her his queen. Elements from all the stories, myths and legends about Ninos and Shamiram found their way in various forms into Rabi Yosip’s new version.

Finally he titled his song-poem Ninos and Shamiram, transposing the characters of King Ninos and Queen Shamiram into a young prince named Ninos and a beautiful shepherdess named Shamiram, who steals his heart and compels him to ask she go with him home to Nineveh.

“I will come with you,” she says, “for your love has pierced my heart, too.” When she asks who he is and where he comes from, he answers, “My name is Ninos, the son of the high priest Nahrin.” Shamiram tells him that he is not a hunter, but a shepherd like her. “I of flock,” she adds, “you of people.” Ninos asks, “Queen of beauty of these hills, what is your name?”

She was named after a dove, she explains, and goes on to tell the story of how a dove perched on her cradle, and that when it flew away, it left a small feather on her chest. She says she has kept the feather in the hope that someday it will lead her to the dove. “That is why they decided to call me Shamiram,” she says, “which means ‘A Name Exalted.’ ”

Rabi Yosip’s poetry soars with imagination, weaving myth and legend with historical data. Most of all, the words are those of an Assyrian poet whose love of his nation sparkles with the romantic imagery in the song-poem Ninos and Shamiram.

“Yosip Bet Yosip is one of our finest poets with a deep knowledge of our folkloric tradition,” says Tony Khoshaba, AAS-A Central Valley president and Mesopotamian Night producer. He points to the song-poem’s contrasting themes of a village girl’s simplicity in Shamiram and a prince’s urban sophistication in Ninos, and that the subject holds vast interest in any culture. He also feels Ninos and Shamiram was especially ripe for a Mesopotamian Night musical. “In general any love story tied to mythology makes an interesting story,” he explains, “but I let Michel decide whether it would be a good musical subject.”

Michel Bosc had already worked on previous year’s Mesopotamian Night production. One act from his opera Qateeni Gabbara was presented at the 2009 gala performance. Based on William Daniel’s Assyrian Epic, Qateeni Gabbara is still a work in progress.

Also for the 2009 production, Bosc had orchestrated solo piano works by the Assyrian composer Paulus Khofri into a suite titled Assyryt. The first part was presented in the 2009 concert as Assyryt Suite No. 1. Assyryt Suite No. 2 is in the lineup for this year’s program.

“I had confidence in Michel and in his commitment to deliver a superb work,” says Khoshaba. “He is a genuine artist whose work has a certain charisma. But I also think he liked the story.”

Ninos and Shamiram is written as a cantata for soprano and tenor with orchestra. The cantata, from the Italian word cantare, meaning “to sing,” was a relatively large 17th-century secular work in operatic style for one or two singers with accompaniment. It continued to evolve into a more elaborate work that included secular and religious texts.

Johann Sebastian Bach transformed the cantata to include soloists, chorus and orchestra, producing some 200 church cantatas. Since the late 18th century, the cantata has further evolved into a choral religious or secular work with orchestra and with or without soloists.

“I decided on a cantata in the baroque sense, with an overture and several movements,” Bosc points out. “It makes the story more intimate and the reading easier and clearer. It’s more operatic, too.”

To bring out the cantata’s colors and sensuality, he wanted a symphony orchestra with harp, harpsichord and celesta. To that, he added bells, cymbals, vibraphone and glockenspiel. Bosc explains he set out to create in the cantata something personal, since he already feels part of the Assyrian community. “Ninos and Shamiram is also universal,” he adds. “It begins with a real Assyrian theme, but the rest is mine.”

Bosc admits he was drawn to the story of Ninos and Shamiram. He especially saw beauty and magic in the character of Shamiram, that she is proud and free like the Assyrian soul. “I loved her at once,” he says, “and I decided to write for a high coloratura soprano, and to offer her a virtuoso piece.”

Ninos and Shamiram must reach beyond the Assyrian concert hall, Bosc notes. The world must discover it. Part of his plan to give the cantata a universal face is already in place: Ninos and Shamiram will be published in France. “This culture must be discovered and must travel,” he says. “I want every singer to be able to sing this Assyrian legend.”

Obelit Yadgar
Writer and Master of Ceremonies

Saturday, June 5, 2010

MN-2010 Musical Inspires The Graphic Artist

The following graphic designs are submitted by Mr. Wilson Wilson in celebration of the upcoming Mesopotamian Night 2010 musical event. The painting in the design is by Mr. Paul Batou.