Fahad Siadat | Composer
Sholeh Wolpé | Librettist
Kate Poppen | Costume Design
R.S. Buck | Lighting Design/Production Manager
Kirk Averitt | Company Manager
Anna Klevit | Stage Manager
Fahad Siadat | "Narrator"
Catalina Jackson-Urueña | Dancer
The oratorio is composed by Fahad Siadat with a libretto by Sholeh Wolpé and directed/choreographed by André Megerdichian. The story is structured like nesting dolls, utilizing smaller tales and parables nestled within a larger narrative to advance the voyage of the birds. The result is an engaging and soul-lifting spiritual journey that not only illustrates the core tenets of the Sufi mystical path but also metaphorically addresses our 21st century spiritual and environmental woes. This project is an opportunity to explore further the relationship between musical principles and the ecstatic experience within Sufi spiritual practice, especially the experience of deindividuation—shedding of one’s ego—which is a core feature of a wayfarer’s path.
Rather than using instruments to support the vocal soloists as is typical for an oratorio, The Conference of the Birds is entirely a cappella, utilizing a collection musical techniques and timbres found in singing styles across the globe. Singers act as both the birds on the journey as well as musically function as the ‘orchestra’ to tell the story and support the vocal solos. The result is a sound world outside of any one cultural tradition, creating an emotional and relatable experience through the human voice.