Friday, March 3, 2023

Praise for A Thousand Splendid Suns

John Moore (Rasheed) and Karin Mushegain (Mariam) in A Thousand Splendid Suns. © Sunny Martini

Haunting and beautiful, the story and music merge as one in this formidable show.” Broadway World

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Human Fascination with Forbidden Love and Unrequited Desire

Image from The Heritage Museum, University of Michigan

By Humaira Ghilzai, Afghanistan Cultural Consultant

The story of Layla and Majnun is a classic Arab love story that has been told and retold for centuries. Based on the real-life love affair between Qays ibn al-Mulawwah and Layla bint Mahdi, the story follows two young lovers who lived during the 7th century in the Arabian Peninsula. Qays falls deeply in love with Layla, but is unable to marry her due to objections of Layla's family. He becomes consumed by his love for Layla and wanders the bazaars singing, dancing and reciting poetry which praises Layla’s beauty. His outward expression of his admiration and love for Layla earns him the nickname Majnun, "madman."

I pass by this town, the town of Layla
And I kiss this wall and that wall
It’s not Love of the town that has enraptured my heart
But of the One who dwells within this town

–Qays ibn al-Mulawwah

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Director’s Statement by Roya Sadat

Roya Sadat, Stage Director of A Thousand Splendid Suns; © Farzana Wahidy

Widely recognized as Afghanistan’s first female film and television producer during the post-Taliban era, Roya Sadat is the winner of more than 20 international film awards, including the 2021 Kim Dae-jung Nobel Peace Film Award and the 2018 International Women of Courage Award presented by the United States Department of State. Sadat was featured among the BBC’s 100 Inspiring and Influential Women for 2021, and her three films – A Letter to the President (’17), Playing the Taar (’08), and Three Dots (’03) – have been invited to more than 60 international film festivals. A Letter to the President was selected as the official entry from Afghanistan for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. In addition to her feature films, she has produced eight documentary films, three television programs, and a music video.

February 25th could have been a euphoric day for me, a performance after which to return to my homeland and share the success of a monumental accomplishment with my countrymen. Fate, alas, transformed my sentiments of personal joy and pride to those of duty and responsibility. Directing A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Seattle Opera became an austere obligation owed to the women of Afghanistan.

Monday, February 6, 2023

How You Can Help Afghans Here And Abroad

© Bloomberg News

Our partners at Sahar Education have compiled a comprehensive list of resources to support Afghanistan during this time of crisis. Read more about the crisis, learn how to use your voice in the political process, and help with relief efforts both in Afghanistan and here in Washington.

Help Now

Local organizations working on the crisis

For years, numerous individuals and organizations have welcomed Afghanistan refugees to Washington State with open arms. These dedicated volunteers and professionals are aiding new arrivals with food and shelter, clothing and toiletries, health care and education, as well as employment and immigration assistance. You can also help welcome our new friends, families, and neighbors by volunteering and donating to these organizations:

Friday, February 3, 2023

Advance looks at A Thousand Splendid Suns

Read what the press has to say about Seattle Opera’s upcoming adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed novel, which opens Saturday, February 25, 2023 at McCaw Hall. Learn more at

Thursday, February 2, 2023

From the Author Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hossini, author of A Thousand Splendid Suns

It has always been my hope that A Thousand Splendid Suns would become a relic of the past. Through the story of Mariam and Laila, the novel chronicles the struggles and hopes of Afghan women over decades of violence and political turmoil. The 1990’s, in particular, were punishing years for Afghan women. In the civil war of 1992-1996—a brutal conflict that saw swaths of Kabul demolished and claimed some 50,000 lives—women bore the brunt of suffering. Women were targeted and used as spoils of war. They were abducted, sexually assaulted, forced into marriage with Mujahideen militiamen, and sold into prostitution rings. The brutality ended in 1996, when the Taliban drove out the fractured Mujahideen. But peace and stability came at a crushing cost—especially to women.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Afghan literature beyond A Thousand Splendid Suns

Seattle Opera’s upcoming world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini. But A Thousand Splendid Suns only scratches the surface of the breadth of literature written by Afghan and Afghan American authors. Deepen your appreciation of Afghanistan’s rich tradition of art and literature with this selection of recent works.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Support Local Afghan Women Artisans

Refugee and immigrant women have the highest unemployment rate in the country. Language barriers and cultural differences create challenges for women to discover how to apply their skills and create work opportunities. Seattle’s Refugee Artisan Initiative (RAI) partners with immigrant women to foster an inclusive, prosperous transition to the U.S. through artisan skills training in zero-waste and small-batch manufacturing. We are humbled to be working with Refugee Artisan Initiative in conjunction with our upcoming world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Seattle Opera appoints Shannon Rolbiecki Director of Development

Seattle Opera has selected Shannon Rolbiecki, a seasoned development professional and Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), as its new Director of Development. As a classically trained singer and opera performer, Rolbiecki brings a rich musical background to Seattle Opera. She begins in the role on December 12, 2022.

Monday, December 5, 2022


Widely acclaimed as one of the best lyric tenors of our time, Yonghoon Lee has been praised worldwide by audiences and critics. From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to Bayerishe Staatsoper to Opera Australia, he has captured the hearts of many with his portrayals of Calaf in Turandot, Luigi in Il tabarro (The Cloak) and Rodolfo in La bohème. In this interview he shares how he started singing, career doubts, and what inspired him to continue performing.