Carabanchel, 2007

Runtime: 2’31’’
Music: José María Sánchez Verdú

Violin solo: Ara Malikian


The opera El viaje a Simorgh by Jose María Sánchez Verdú opened on May 4, 2007 at the Royal Theater of Madrid. The title, El viaje a Simorgh was inspired by the lyrical story The Conference of Birds, a book of poems in Persian written in the seventeenth century by the Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar. It tells of the journey that all birds on earth wish to make to Simorgh, to see the King of the Birds. It is an analogy of the divinity, origin and destiny of travelers and seekers of transcendence; an inner mystical journey, as composer and librettist Jose María Sánchez Verdú reveals. The opera is also based on the novel Las Virtudes del pájaro solitario (The Virtues of the Solitary Bird) by Juan Goytisolo, where the hypertext and intersexuality are essential. In the novel, the narrative is situated in a timeless more mental space, where parallels are established between the era and vicissitudes of Saint John of the Cross and today, showing the difficulties that the unorthodox, those who run from established thought, must always brave. References to the Inquisition and dictatorships, to totalizing and intolerant thinking, are evident. The story shows an apocalyptic view of natural disasters and diseases that connect pandemics like the plague to the current AIDS disease. The novel appears to offer an open doorway through spiritual quest and despite the many complexities and levels of meaning it contains, it develops also as an ode to multiculturalism and freedom of thought.