The outstanding tenor straight from La Scala, Milan – Accompanied by extraordinary pianist and Opus Artist In Residence, Oliver Poole.
Opus Theatre are delighted to present an internationally known tenor, Ramtin Ghazavi, together with our Artist in Residence, concert pianist Oliver Poole, on 17th November 2018. Oliver, who has brought Ramtin to Opus, wants the Hastings audience to experience Ramtin’s wonderful performance. He describes him as “strong, charismatic and virtuoso, yet able to convey a depth of emotion and sincerity that is raw, captivating and at times mystical.
Ramtin Ghazavi is particularly associated with La Scala opera house in Milan, where he has sung in a wide range of major productions including “La Traviata”, “La Boheme”, “Wozzek” “Die Fledermaus” and Leonard Berstein’s “Chichester Psalms”. He has also sung in the major opera and concert halls of France, the US and other countries, as well as music festivals across Italy. He has now sung many of the leading roles in the classical operatic repertoire at the highest level.
Born in Iran as a member of the Baha’i community, Ramtin was barred from higher education, and there were no schools in the country teaching western classical music– indeed, it is still almost unobtainable there. As a child he studied Persian classical music and then in his mid-teens a guitar-playing friend introduced him to western traditions, which led to him studying the piano and trying to find a vocal teacher – without success.
“The Internet wasn’t like it is today, so I had no access to YouTube or other ways to find and listen to the music easily,” Ghazavi wrote. “But I had some audio and videotapes of Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.”
Ghazavi’s life took a sudden turn when an Italian tourist happened to hear him singing Scarlatti’s “Pieta, Signore,” and helped him apply successfully to study opera in Italy in 2003. After two years at the Conservatory of Como, he successfully applied to the elite Milan Conservatory. Immersing himself in music by day and working in an Ikea warehouse by night to pay the bills, he was an outstanding student who also auditioned successfully for the chorus at La Scala.
In 2012 he released his first album, “Les Roses d’Ispahan,” featuring the ethereal composition by Gabriel Faure named after Isfahan, the ancient Iranian city where Ghazavi was born. It is a song he has never had the opportunity to perform publicly in his homeland. “I can’t perform and work in Iran because of my religion”, Ghazavi wrote. However he did manage to arrange a recital in the home of the Italian ambassador in Tehran in 2013, and launched the first Opera Masterclass in the city’s Italian school.
In the middle of the last century, Iranian composers steeped in Western forms such as Rubik Gregorian, Hossein Nassehi, and many others created new works which drew on Persian folklore and the epic verse of Persian poet Ferdowsi. “Unfortunately this repertory has been forgotten” , Ghazavi wrote. He is making it his mission to “renew the culture of opera singing in the Persian language that also has some ancient roots in the Persian culture.”
His concert at Opus will feature a selection of well-known arias from the Italian operatic repertoire, together with some Persian music including operatic arias, combining the familiar with the new. This promises to be a memorable evening.