Interview with Darya Dadvar

Darya grew up in an artistic environment in Iran. Her mother is a singer and director of the Marionette Theatre.

In 1999, she obtained her “Diplome d’Etude Musicale” (Musical studies diploma) – Gold Medal). In 2000, she finished her musical education in the National Conservatory of Toulouse/France and obtained a first-class diploma as well as a Professional Diploma in Baroque Style. Darya also has a Master’s Degree in Art from the “Ecole des Beaux-Arts” of Toulouse/France.

In 2001 she moved to Paris and engaged in a successful career as a soprano, attracting listeners from around the world. Her concerts are highly attended.

One of her most unforgettable performances was in Iran, when she appeared in the role of Tahmineh, from the tragedy of “Rostam & SohrabShahnameh Ferdowsi”, with the Armenian Symphony Orchestra, composed and directed by Loris Tjeknavorian. This was the first time that an Iranian woman performed on the stage as a soloist after 24 years of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Darya’s unique style blends European classical by Iranian Melodies perfumed by some jazz and blues flavors. She combines different musical styles within one song, brings historical periods together, and crosses languages and dialects. She follows her instincts above all. In short, she has dared to create a new style of singing.

Her silky soprano is flexible as well as powerful, and she has a magnetic personality to help set her music on fire.”

John Terauds, The Toronto Star


“Through art, I lift the boundaries. Interpretation is not enough, and I only evolve when I create.”

Darya Dadvar

ZH: Thank you very much Darya Dadvar for this interview, we would like to start with you by telling us more about yourself and education?

I grew up in an artistic environment during my childhood. I moved to France in 1991 and studied Opera singing, Baroque music and also Fine Arts.

I was in Iran during the war and the Islamic revolution. I live in France and my heart is still in Iran every day and with all those countries who are not living in peace.

You belong to a generation in which listening to children ‘s bedtime stories and singing lullabies with mothers or grandmothers were part of growing up.

ZH: On top of that, your own mother was among one of the well-known singers of her time, whose soft soothing voice in “Hassan and Khanoom Hana” ‘s play in the role of “Magical harp“ has been engraved in most of the children’s memories in your generation. And It seems like your tendency towards folklore music and singing with different Iranian dialect is all inspired by this.

Yes, I was lucky to have an artist’s mother and to grow up in an artistic environment. I also was lucky enough to see her sing on stage before the revolution in a few hours she had in Iran and on TV and in theatres.

ZH: When you were young what kind of music were you listening to?

There were all kinds of music in our house and I grew up listening to folk songs as well as Nazeri, Hayedeh, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Shahram Shabpareh or Delkash, etc.

I spent my childhood discovering all different styles of music that I listened to daily in our house. After the revolution, when music schools singing classes for women became forbidden, my mother’s cassette tapes in every corner of the house tapes became treasures to me.

ZH: When you were in France besides majoring in music you were also studying visual arts. Do you see any interrelationship between the two? How have visual arts inspired or defined your vision in your music?

Of course. There are relationships between everything in life and especially between all aspects of art. They all complete each other and the most complete one is Cinema.

If you understand a photo it will influence your interpretation. For example, the light in photography is as important as breathing in singing. When you practice photography as a singer, it will change your vision about your interpretation or composing.

I didn’t study composition in music but I composed a lot of songs. When you truly understand the path of art, you don’t get satisfaction by interpretation only. You must create it. Creation and only creation in life will make us grow.

We must help our children to create their lives every day. This is the best we can give them as parents compared to any other education.

ZH: Can we talk about Baroque style or medieval tune and it’s the composition with “traditional/classical music and Iranian folklore to create a new mixture of Farsi poem influenced by rhythms in Western music?

Yes, by listening to my music, you can see that all those styles you named here are influencing my work. You can name more styles and they can all be combined. There is no limit in art…

Even a very classic singer today is inevitably influenced by other styles of music.

ZH: You also have the experience of performing as Tahmineh in the National opera of Rostam and Sohrab accompanied by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian. Are there any new projects in mind in this genre?

I still can’t believe that I sang solo in Iran. There are always projects around me to sing with an orchestra but to perform in a Persian opera at that level, it’s rare. I am not sure if I want to do it again, as I changed my music style to a mix of many different styles rather than opera. But it would be great to have a complete real opera all in Farsi with Iranian opera singers again.

ZH: As an effective singer, what is your point of view to extend the rich Persian Tails to the globe?

I love to be a messenger for peace, bringing people’s hearts closer together, and what an honor to be able to do this as an Iranian singing in Farsi.

I’ve learned how to sing in different languages and I think Farsi is one of the most beautiful languages and I am so lucky that Farsi is my mother tongue.

ZH: Tell us more about your recent and upcoming projects.

I am so honored to perform at the Nowruz Celebration organized by Farhang Foundation in Los Angeles this year. Then I go to Toronto for another Nowruz Festival organized by Tirgan and I have a few concerts coming up soon for other cities and countries that I will announce on my website soon.

This spring, I will be on stage with two fantastic singers, Ali Azimi and Sogand, for the 10th year celebration of Bahar Choir in collaboration with the Paris East Orchestra, conducted by Arash Fouladvand. We will be performing in Paris and London.

ZH: Thank you for being with us at ZH.

Thanks for inviting me to this interview!


In collaboration with ZH Media

Special thanks to Sherry Sadati