Tirgan Festival of Iranian Arts & Culture at Harbourfront Toronto July 18 to 21 2013

From a media release:

Tirgan Festival
July 18 – 21, 2013
The world’s largest contemporary Iranian arts and culture festival at Harbourfront Centre – the heart of Toronto’s waterfront!

The world’s largest Iranian festival, Tirgan, returns to Harbourfront Centre from July 18-21. Artists from across the globe are set to converge at Harbourfront Centre to celebrate Iranian arts and to showcase the richness and diversity of Iranian culture.

This year, Tirgan explores the idea of “hope” and highlights humanity’s ability to persevere, overcome and survive. Tirgan also places a special focus on women and the important contributions women have made to Iran’s cultural mosaic. Iranian contemporary arts are shaped in part by members of society whose voice may not be heard, whose image was taboo and whose legal standing was half of their male counterparts. Throughout history, Iranians have had their share of natural and self-inflicted devastations, yet there is no more powerful indication to hope than artistic and cultural heritage.

Browse all the events

Festival highlights include:

• Tirgan Opening Ceremony: Arash the Archer - An Operatic Narration
Ticketed Event: $25
Friday, July 18, 2013 from 8-10 p.m. - WestJet Stage
Tirgan opening ceremony - Arash the Archer is an operatic narration of one of the most well known Iranian myths which has captivated many with its universal values such as redemption, hope and sacrifice. The Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT) created a new version of the story directed by Siavash Shabanpour. Arash the Archer is a musical collage incorporating operatic singing, orchestral music, theatrical elements, video and stage design.

• Vancouver Pars National Ballet
Saturday, July 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. & Sunday July 21, 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
A performance by Vancouver Pars National Ballet with folk and traditional Iranian dances;

• A collection of short films by award-winning filmmaker, Shirin Neshat, along with a Q&A period
Friday, July 19, 2013 from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. at the York Quay Studio Theatre
Shirin Neshat is among the best-known Iranian artists in the Western world. She has lived in the United States, in self-imposed exile from her native Iran, for most of her adult life. Canadian premiere.

• Film Screening: Women Without Men by Shirin Neshat + Q&A
Saturday, July 20, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA-backed coup d'├ętat, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship.

• Ajam
Friday July 19, at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 20, at 9:30 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Ajam's live performance encapsulates a variety of performance styles inspired by music and rituals that are rooted in Iranian culture. The live soundscape is an amalgamation of traditional and tribal acoustic instruments with an undercurrent of modern electronic urban music elements.

• Love Stories of the Shahnameh
Ticketed event: $30-$40
Friday, July 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 20 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, July 21 at 4:30p.m. – Fleck Dance Theatre
Love Stories of the Shahnameh recounts the tales of Shirin & Khosrow, Bahram & Arezoo and Sohrab & Gordafarid. These love stories come to life through naqqali (ancient
Iranian storytelling), music and dance.

• Persian Cooking Demonstration with Najmieh Batmanglij
Saturday, July 20 at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 21 at 12:30 p.m. –Lakeside Terrace
Najmieh demonstrates how to prepare traditional Persian dishes, such as green bites (doymaj); saffron-flavored Persian rice (tah-diq) served with an eggplant braise (khoresh-e bademjan). She also shares secrets of using saffron and rose water in Persian cooking.