The opera tells the story of the Persian hero Rostam, as described in the classic 11th-century epic The Shahnameh, by Ferdowsi, who is the Persian's Shakespeare. His epic is almost unknown in the West and is a masterpiece, and that is why I selected it for my opera. Rostam is their greatest warrior. During his 600-year life, he spent exactly one night in the company of a woman, a princess named Tahmina, and the result of that union was his son Sohrab.
According to the story, Rostam, who was off on his military campaigns, knew nothing about Sohrab, and the latter did not know who his father was, since Tahmina had reasons for keeping it secret. The movement we are going to perform tells of when Tahmina at last informs Sohrab, who is now a young man, of his father. Sohrab is inspired with an overwhelming vision of himself and Rostam together ascending the throne. Despite the tears and pleading of Tahmina, Sohrab gathers his sword and armor and sets off to find his father.
Operas must of course tell of conflict, sacrifice, and inevitable death from conspiring events. Rostam and Sohrab meet on the battlefield in the last movement, but not until Sohrab has been mortally wounded does Rostam discover who his opponent is. He cradles Sohrab as his son dies.