Mark Grey (Composer)
Niloufar Talebi (Librettist)
Jessica Rivera (Soprano)
Donato Cabrera (Conductor)
Ātash Sorushān (Fire Angels) is a story about love and connection. It tells the tale of two larger-than-life beings, Mana and Ahsha -- the Fire Angels of Light and Truth. Mana and Ahsha dwell in separate realms, each convinced of their supreme power. One day, in an all out collision, they seek to prove once and for all who is the greater. But instead, they find Power itself is thrown into question. As their outward and mighty facades crumble, a transcendent final movement begins. Sound, light and story unite viscerally to reveal the truth: in our moments of vulnerability, we are one. Fire Angels summons the questions: How can we better understand relationships with our fellow human beings? How can a devastating event between two dominant forces become a ground zero for love?
Ātash Sorushān (Fire Angels) draws upon various cultural elements, weaving ancient traditions of the East into modern and universal concerns of the present day. Mana is the Oceanic and Persian term for the divine life force that embodies everything, and Ahsha is an Avestan term for truth/existence. In the Zoroastrian (ancient Iranian religion) tradition, angels watch over things, such as days of the week, months, Truth, etc. The archangel 'Sorush' is a messenger angel, like Gabriel, who presides over the beginning and end of the world. Sorush fights against daemons that threaten to extinguish the world's fire/passion/truth. Sorushān is the pluralized form of the proper name, Sorush. Ātash is the Persian word for fire, an element essential to the destruction and renovation of Mana and Ahsha, and all they represent. The title, Ātash Sorushān (Fire Angels), refers to the role both Mana and Ahsha played out, angels with a message of purification and peace, ending a world and beginning a new one. Mana and Ahsha begin under the assumption of difference, and through the power of transformation, end by realizing their sameness. By humanizing them, each with their own equally magnificent strengths and weaknesses, we explore the grey areas of history in the reflection of our past decade.