Monir Vakili

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Monir Vakili
Born (1923-12-19)December 19, 1923
Tabriz, Iran
Died February 28, 1983(1983-02-28) (aged 59)
Nivelles, Belgium
Genres Opera
Occupation(s) Opera singer, opera director and producer
Instruments Voice
Years active 1940s–1983

Monir Vakili (December 19, 1923 in Tabriz, Iran – February 28, 1983 in Belgium) was an Iranian soprano.


Monir was born to a family of art and music enthusiasts. Her father encouraged her interest in opera and supported her decision to study abroad. Monir studied voice and theater at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et De Danse de Paris and continued her training in opera directing at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass. Monir started the first opera company in Iran. She gave performances in roles including Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, and Liu in Turandot, at the Rudaki Hall. She intended to bring the level of artistry in Iran up to international standards. She produced and hosted a series in the National Iranian Television featuring selections from Rudaki Hall, and created an opera film festival and established the Academy of Voice, a government-funded, co-educational boarding school to educate and train students in the art of opera and choral singing. In 1951 Monir placed first at the Berlin Youth Festival (in the vocal category) and in 1975 she was the recipient of the Forough Farrokhzad Award. She recorded an album, "Chants et Danses de Perse" in Paris in 1958, of songs from different regions of Iran. It won the Grand Prix du Disque of the Académie Charles Cros. Monir died in 1983. Baazgasht ("Resurrection"), is a rendition of the album.

Monir attended the American School in Hamedan where she performed as soloist and member of the church choir.

Awards, honours and other details[edit]

  • Radio Tehran and Association of Friends of the French Culture-Soloist and Choir Member, 1969–71.
  • Studied at the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique de Paris 1949–52, majoring in Operatic Singing and Performing Arts.
  • Recipient of the Best Folk Songs Award, Berlin Youth Festival, 1951.
  • Vocal Coach at Tehran National Conservatory of Music, 1955–57.
  • Recitals at the French Institute and Roumanian Embassy, Tehran, 1955–56. *Studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, 1960–61. Majored in Opera Directing.
  • First Persian singer to popularize Persian Folk Songs in Iran and the international music scene.
  • Founder of the first Opera Company of Tehran.
  • Staged the first televised opera scenes from Madama Butterfly and La Traviata on Sabet Television, May 1961.
  • Executive Director of Rudaki Hall Programs for NIRTV (Performing Arts Program), Tehran, Iran. *Creator and Founder of the Academy of Voice, Tehran, Iran, 1975.
  • Recipient of the Forough Farrokhzad Award, 1976.
  • Executive Producer of the first Opera Film Festival in the world at the Rudaki Hall in Tehran, Iran, 1977.
  • Executive Director & Producer & Host of the Television Program for NIRTV: Rudaki Hall Presents (the best programs of the year were telecast all over the country).
  • Appeared in 19 operas as the lead or second lead and directed two major operas in Tehran.
  • Member of Board of Directors of the International Shiraz Arts Festival.

Personal life[edit]

She toured and performed extensively in Russia, Tajikestan, Bulgaria, Romania, France, Germany, Italy and the United States. She was married to Dr. Abdol-Madjid Madjidi, 2 daughters: Scheherazade (a.k.a. ZaZa)[1][2] and Djamileh. Vakili died in a car accident in Belgium on February 28, 1983 as her husband's car collided with a tank. They had been driving to an informal gathering with prominent diplomats.



External links[edit]