Art And Culture

Narrative-Musical Performance on Attar’s Work

Narrative-Musical  Performance on Attar’s WorkNarrative-Musical  Performance on Attar’s Work

A narrative-musical performance ‘Dancing With You in Flames’ by the young composer Mahyar Alizadeh and well-known actors Saber Abar and Pantea Panahiha, will be staged at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Friday (July 24).

The performance includes narrations of romantic stories written by Alizadeh. “This is the first time such a complicated performance is held in Iran,” said Hossein Tutunchian, producer and director, at a press conference on Tuesday, Honaronline reported.

He pointed to the long time taken to get the license for the performance as it comprised two sections of drama and music. “As the process of acquiring the permit got lengthy, we just had little time for advertising.”

The performance on Attar’s ‘Sheikh San’an’ focuses more on the love story in the tale. He had planned an opera, but since “there are not enough facilities for an opera as big as the story needs,” he changed his mind and chose a narrative-musical medium.

 Attar’s Story

Attar (1110-1221) was a Persian poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur, (Khorasan Razavi Province in Iran), who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.

Attar was a prolific writer but among his works, Manteq al-Tayr (Conference of the Birds) is generally known as his magnum opus. Though all the tales of this book are artfully written, the story of ‘Sheikh San’an’, without doubt, is second to none.

The story describes the passage of man from the values of Sufism to love. In fact the story begins with human existence and ends in annihilation.

It deals with the tale of a celebrated Sufi master who, after 50 years of spiritual practice and hundreds of disciples, falls in love with a young Christian woman. He forsakes his reputation, fame, status in the society as a spiritual leader, and even his religion for the sake of his love.

His disciples use all means to bring their master back but to no avail. Finally, in his dream, the appearance of the Prophet of Islam awakens the sheikh to his senses. Thereupon, the Christian maiden, observing the transformation in Sheikh San’an, also embraces his way of spiritual life.

The very purpose of the story is to inspire the audience, to raise their spiritual aspiration and to guide them on the path of true faith.


An orchestra of Iranian and western instruments accompanied by a group of new young singers will render the performance while Abar and Panahiha will narrate it by singing and declaiming.

The poetic verses are written by Alireza Kiaee while the prose is by Alizadeh. Poems of renowned Persian poets Mawlana and Houshang Ebtehaj are also used.

The music album of the performance will be released later.

On his role as a singer/narrator, Abar, who has acted in movies and plays, said: “This is one of my few experiences in singing and I confess that I am not a singer.”

The story as narrated to him and Panahiha and the seven singers also contribute to parts of the narrative.

The musical features of the work overshadow its dramatic characteristics which makes it essentially different from the nature of a performance. “It happened due to lack of time, but I can say it is a combination of a musical performance and dramatic elements, which is a new experience in Iran.”