Opera on Benazir Bhutto’s Life To Open next Year in U.S.


The life and legacy of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed is all set to be staged in the U.S. next year by a noted American company.

The opera is being created by Mohammed Fairouz, an eminent Emirati-American composer, and Mohammed Hanif, an award-winning Pakistani novelist, titled Bhutto which will premier in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania next year.

“The opera focuses on Benazir Bhutto’s extraordinary life and the influences upon her, and the effect that her stand for women and their ability to lead has had on the world stage,” Pittsburgh Opera General Director, Christopher Hahn was quoted as saying by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Post-Gazette reported early in 2016 that Pittsburgh Opera had co-commissioned the opera about the life of Bhutto which was intended to premiere in 2018. The premiere was quietly pushed back for financial and artistic reasons; it is now set to debut in the 2019-20 season.

On Nov 13, the report said, the artistic minds behind the opera visited Pittsburgh to work on the project with full orchestra and chorus in the opera headquarters, an essential step in the creation of the production and a chance to display the work to potential donors to shore up financial support.

Musicians, lead singers and soloists performed each act in its entirety, occasionally pausing briefly to talk through a passage, it said.

Composer Fairouz was quoted by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying that he began thinking about the Bhutto story six years ago.

“Everybody has an opinion about Bhutto,” Fairouz said. “It’s often very personal, very passionate. As a composer you feel compelled to do something – and then you’re like an animal sniffing at truffles trying to uncover why it’s interesting.”

“When you write an opera, you have to start with research to find out why the story or idea compels you so much.”

Hanif pointed out that members of the Bhutto family are still active in Pakistani politics and that will be an essential part of the opera.