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Donald Trump’s immigration ban has claimed another casualty in the creative industries.
U.K.-born composer Soosan Lolavar, who holds dual British and Iranian citizenship because of her Iranian father, last year won a Fulbright scholarship to study Iranian music at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University — her opera, called ID, Please, is due to be staged there in April.
Lolavar had been planning to return to the U.S. next week for rehearsals, but was forced to reconsider her trip because of the recent immigration restrictions.
“The U.S. 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,” she wrote in comments published online. “I’m 80 percent sure I’m going to make the trip although my collaborators in the U.S. are quite worried and have assured me that we can handle things over Skype if I would prefer.”
Ironically, the opera ID, Please is set at a border checkpoint in an unnamed country and sees a guard interrogating a series of different passengers.
“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!),” added Lolavar. “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.”
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