A proud, recently retired woman and her adult daughter square-off in a grand but faded Montréal apartment. It’s a familiar and tiresome routine for the two of them, but today their complex give-and-take will open a door to an entirely unexpected, terrifying, and potentially wondrous future neither are fully ready to enter. Vanishing Point is a 30-minute opera for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and Pierrot Ensemble instrumentation that I created in collaboration with librettist Nika Khanjani. We have taken elements from our shared history as Iranian immigrants to craft a challenging piece of complex and nuanced emotional shifts, a whiplash of tenderness and bitterness, and a sober question of whether we can reframe a crisis into an opportunity to show up fully present for someone we love even as we watch them slip away. Densely crafted around themes of loss, migration, and unresolved trauma, it asks audiences to bring their attention, patience, and empathy to an emotional canvas that is perhaps uncommon in traditional opera.
We have designed this opera as a vehicle exclusively for BIPOC performers. On the premier performance, Dr. J. Marchand Knight and Fredericka Petit-Homme will embody two women who, like many Iranian immigrants to North America, resist aligning themselves with any simple and reductive category—especially when facing the universal challenges and heartbreak of the loss of identity through dementia.
The world premiere of my opera, Vanishing Point, will take place at Salle Bourgie, Montreal, Quebec on October 10, 2021 at 7:30 pm (EDT).
If you missed the performance you can access the full program here until March 2022: