Notes & Reviews:
Sumeida's Song, is Mohammed Fairouz's first opera, completed when the brilliant Arab-American composer was 22 years old. The opera is based on Tawfiq al-Hakim's play "Song of Death," a classic in Arab theater. Sumeida's Song follows the return of Alwan, a young man, from Cairo to his village in Upper Egypt. He defies his family's expectations that he will fulfill an age-old blood feud. Instead, he reveals that the true purpose of his return is to end the violence, and bring light and enlightenment to his village. For challenging the structure of his society, he pays the ultimate price. Mohammed Fairouz's score is an inspired synthesis of the microtonal inflections of Arabic maquam (much of the second and third scenes are composed using quarter-tones) and more traditional western opera. Sumeida's Song comes at a poignant time in Arab history with Alwan posing the eternal question: "Have not our people the same rights in life as others?"
American Record Guide, March / April 2013
Sumeida's Song is an opera in three scenes, in English. It retells Tawfiq al-Hakim's 'Song of Death', a story of a son returned to his home village, expected to avenge his father's death. Instead, the boy, now a young man, insists on peace. Fairouz's setting is compelling and the libretto is poignant. Efficient and effective use of motive and theme complement the plot, and a colorful orchestra makes it a pleasure to listen to. Fairouz manages to compose a powerful and moving work with a political subject. The work itself is also accessible. Sumeida's Song is an excellent piece by a young composer who shows great artistry.