British composer is barred by Trump from seeing her opera

British composer is barred by Trump from seeing her opera


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2017

Soosan Lolavar, British born to an Iranian father, holds dual UK and Iranian citizenship.

Last year, she won a Fulbright scholarship to study Iranian music at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. She has an opera, titled ID Please, which will be staged there in April.

Soosan was planning to return to the US next week, but she cannot afford to risk being turned back at the airport. So she has called off seeing the premiere of her opera.

An update from Soosan:

‘The US embassy was until recently still telling dual nationals not to apply for visas as they would be refused. This has since been taken down, but it still leaves me a little unsure. I’m 80% sure I’m going to make the trip although my collaborators in the US are quite worried and have assured me that we can handle things over skype if I would prefer.

‘If I do make it okay, then it just confirms what an incredible privilege it is to have a British passport and sail through immigration while many of my compatriots are facing distressing questioning and the possible threat of deportation. I’ll let you know if there are any new developments!

‘The strange irony to all this is that the opera I have written is in fact about immigration. It’s called ID, Please and is set at border control in an unnamed country, depicting a border guard interrogating a series of different passengers played by two singers. Myself and my librettist (Daniel Hirsch) briefly considered writing something about Trump a year ago when we came up with the idea, but decided not to as we both thought he’d be gone from public life by now (how wrong we were!) Instead we used the opera to consider contemporary rhetoric on immigration, borders, fear of outsiders etc. It seems it’s more timely than ever now.’



  • John Borstlap says:

    This is just the beginning….. mr T-Rex will disrupt as much as possible before he is removed from office.

    A sympathetic sonic artist, and what a shame to be prevented from hearing your own work. On the other hand, her piece as mentioned in the masochistic event in the video: ‘Protect me from what I want’, may have worked-out as a prayer that now has been answered.

    • Harold Lewis says:

      Donald Trump was legitimately elected President of the United States. He is fulfilling the promises, pledges and commitments that he made while campaigning for election. Notwithstanding the current spasms of hysteria on the part of those ideologically opposed to his standpoint, I see no grounds for ‘removing him from office’. I trust he will stand his ground in the face of cultural hooligans who ought to know better.

      • laurie says:

        Obviously, Harold, you have not read the Constitution. He was in violation of its provisions the day he took office.

        Terming people who know more than you hysterics just shows your ignorance.

      • Dan P. says:

        Leaving the legitimacy issue aside for a moment, being voted into office does not give you immunity to act with disregard to federal laws, the courts, and the constitution. The fight against Trump is the fight for retaining our democracy rather than descending into a Hugo Chavez-like authoritarian structure. That fight is neither an hysterical reaction nor a matter of partisan ideology here. And your silly, name calling only goes to show either your serious lack of thoughtfulness with respect to the situation or a desire to have a strongman form of government. Either way, it ignores what the U.S. has striven for all these years, despite serious falls from those goals in the past. It also ignores the stability of the free world, which is even scarier. One only has to listen to and thought about what he has said, done, and condoned to realize what a danger this man is. The question is only this: how long will people put up with it and how much will we have to sacrifice before he is impeached?

      • Brian L. Blackwell says:

        Adolf Hitler was legitimately elected Leader of Germany. He is fulfilling the promises, pledges and commitments that he made while campaigning for election. Notwithstanding the current spasms of hysteria on the part of those ideologically opposed to his standpoint, I see no grounds for ‘removing him from office’. I trust he will stand his ground in the face of cultural hooligans who ought to know better.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Sigh…no matter how many times this is repeated it doesn’t make it true. Democracy in Germany was overthrown *before* Hitler came to office: he was invited to join in the government to lend a veneer of democratic legitimacy to the coup. He didn’t win an election, and the Reichstag did not properly vote him into office.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        Bravo. Completely agree. The bien pensant and its army of useful idiots are being laughed at by Trump!!

    • Brian says:

      If Trump starts World War 3, I doubt many artists will be traveling anywhere for performances. And though that many sound like hyperbole, it’s not. Trump could be faced with a crisis involving China or Russia or North Korea and things could quickly escalate, especially with Steve Bannon calling the shots and experienced hands like his defense secretary pushed to the sidelines. Scary times.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        Don’t like it that Trump isn’t the Therapist in Chief? I’d mortgage my house he won’t start WW3 but keep the hysterics going – it’s what the Left does so well. Don’t think, just emote!! It’s them we have to think for having somebody like Trump to start with. Listen up; the people are fed up to the back teeth with your safe spaces, trigger warnings, censorship, politically correct fundamentalism, strident feminism, all about me, me, me and me. The ordinary folks want jobs and to be left alone by the chattering classes who are always ready to tell them how to think and what to do. It’s ugly.

        • Nick says:

          @Holly Golightly

          BRILLIANT! Thank you! Cannot be put in better words!
          The Left want the weak, politically correct non-disturbing Obama–type government.
          They cannot fathom an active businessman–non-politician in the White House!

        • John Borstlap says:

          I thought that Mr T has been an alternative fact all along and was elected by people who preferred him to reality. What is the point of getting a job which appears to be an alternative fact? In the end, that doesn’t go down lightly.

  • DESR says:

    Is it not correct to say that as long as she is travelling from the UK and not from Iran, she will have no problems?

    • Alistair Hinton says:

      Well, that’s certainly what I had understood, although I’m no authority on this subject so cannot be absolutely certain; that said, the visa/passport authorities in UK must surely know and, if those with dual citizenship of which one half is from one of the seven countries subject to the temporary immigration embargo are indeed permitted to enter US from UK without let or hindrance, I’d have assumed that those authorities ought to be able to provide reliable advice on this.

  • Marg says:

    The problem is her dual citizenship. In Australia we have had a case of 18 year old Australian born son of Iranian parents. He has an Iranian passport, as well as his Aust one, so he can easily visit family in Iran, and the US consulate refused him a visa because of his dual citizenship, to go on a pre-paid $7K school tour. Our Govt was able to get this eventually reversed by high level intervention. But this shows the stupiditity of ithe Exec order, which was never thought through. Also, for Iranians to renounce their citizenship is in fact impossible, according to what I heard from someone interviewed. Iran does not allow citizens to renounce citizenship.

  • Jane S says:

    She has absolute freedom to travel. UK citizens including those with dual citizenship are fine. Here is clarification.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Get rid of dual citizenship – problem solved!! And why would you want to live in a muslim majority country if millions on Trump’s list are fleeing and you’re afraid. Something doesn’t add up in this narrative.

  • Christopher Storey says:

    I hope Trump gets someone more knowledgeable than Harold Lewis to defend him in the impeachment proceedings which plainly are in the pipeline

    • Nick says:

      @ Christopher Storey

      Thankfully, President Trump will not be impeached, certainly not because of Left sissies desires. Your “pipelines” have pretty huge holes in them.
      First of all President Trump has majority in both Houses of Government, and second, it is not possible to prove the “intent” (remember Mr. Comey could not find “intent” in “crooked Hillary’s” obvious crimes?!)

      So you can rest assured that President Trump will stay at least for 4 years. But you might consider going for a 4 years vacation to, say, Canada, or China, or Germany. These are very socialist countries. Why not?!

      • John Borstlap says:

        We have seen, before the eyes of a stunned world, the break-down of the Soviet Union. It is the mentality as shown in this comment that may invite a comparable event in America.

  • Nick says:


    we can LIVE EVER HAPPIER WITHOUT THE OPERA OF Mme. Lolavar. She really ain’t Mozart or Rossini, Verdi or Wagner. She is certainly not Schostakovich or Schnittke either. So be it: let her be heard in the UK. That is good enough for her and for us in the US.

  • kathy says:

    It isn’t all fine if you are dual UK citizen. There are UK citizens on holiday in the Caribbean stuck, because their connecting flights home go via the States and they have been refused boarding because of their place of birth. Ridiculous, and ridiculous to not see that Trump is actually leading a coup, as we speak, ignoring the law, the constitution and appointing an inner coterie of friends and family, whilst sidelining the military and security expertise at the top level.

    • Nick says:

      @ Kathy

      “Ignoring law”, “the constitution”, “appointing inner coterie” – right, Trump should invite you to serve in his cabinet?! “sidelining military”?

      WOW! What a bunch of BS!! EDUCATE YOURSELF FIRST!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Yes, the world is difficult isn’t it? Wholeheartedly recommended: BBC World News, CNN, WRD Köln, ARD, the Times, NY TImes, Frankfurter Allgemeine, etc. etc. Really, Fox News is bad for the eyes, and for a lot of other things as well.

    • Alistair Hinton says:

      As I understand it (and I’m ready to be corrected if wrong), those with dual citizenship of UK and one of the seven temporarily embargoed nations who wish to travel to US FROM UK should have no problem entering US; that doesn’t by definition necessarily include people travelling from Caribbean or anywhere else.

      Also, for those who’ve mentioned it, this is not about socialism and non-socialism; it’s specifically about what is so far understood to be a temporary (four month – though why that duration I have no idea) embargo on immigration to US from six particular countries and an indefinite one on it from Syria. What will happen when that four months is up is not yet widely known. I understand that those with Green Cards will be unaffected by it irrespective of their country of birth and/or current domicile.

      It would be helpful if respondents to this thread tried to stick to the subject, which does not include Trump’s other political views or intentions, his conduct towards certain others or indeed anything else about him beyond this particular policy which is nevertheless deplorable.