Archive for 'English Articles'

OPERA GALA TIME: ARMENIAN NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA UNDER EDUARD TOPCHJAN

August 11th, 2017
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.
The Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, performing at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, under the baton and artistic direction of Maestro Eduard Topchjan, never ceases to impress its summer audiences with the exceptionally entertaining and high-quality performances given. Featuring baritone David Babayants, soprano Ani Yorentz, tenor Liparit Avetisyan, soprano Hasmik Torosyan, bass Vazgen Gazaryan, and baritone Gianpiero Ruggeri, the Opera Gala produced an unforgettable effect upon the audience.
The program included selections from Leoncavallo, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Mascagni, Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti.

Dresses by Gevorg and Vartan Tarloyan (on either edge)
Hasmik Torosyan (second from viewer’s right)
Ani Yorentz (second from viewer’s left)

The spectacular gala opened with Gianpiero Ruggeri’s stunning performanc of Si puo? Si puo? Signore! Signori!, Tonio’s prologue from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Not only was the actual content of Tonio’s Prologue an ideal stage-warming number, it also manifested Ruggeri’s intriguing acting and smooth vocal production.

Ani Yorentz

Next on the program was Ani Yorentz, performing O Dieu que de Bijoux from Charles Gounod’s Faust. Yorentz portrayed Marguerite’s innocent excitement caused by her newly found love and devilish jewelry acquired from a box in the garden, accompanying it with beautiful vocals, especially on the staccati notes.

Liparit Avetisyan

Liparit Avetisyan came on next with the famous aria of Lensky from Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene OneginKuda, Kuda, Kuda vi udalilis. In Pushkin’s novel in versepoor Lensky undergoes an existential crisis the evening before his duel with his best friend Onegin. The main topic of this existential crisis happens to be the charming, young Olga, who was also the cause of the dual in the first place. Avetisyan portrayed the troubled young Lensky with much heart, keeping the audience intrigued by his emotional intonations and dynamics.

Next up was Vazgen Gazaryan, performing Gremin’s aria from Eugene Onegin. The feel of this aria served as a great contrast to the previously sung Kuda, Kuda, Kuda vi udalilis. Gazaryan’s rich timbre of voice and crispy diction outlined the character of Tatiana’s enthralled by her charms husband.

Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana was performed next by the philharmonic orchestra, with long, soaring phrases and passionately executed dynamics.

David Babayants

David Babayants came onstage and performed Michele’s aria from Giocomo Puccini’s Il Tabarro. Babayants’ strong, penetrating voice carried through the concert hall and, in addition to his excellent vocal control, he exhibited the most rashest of emotions. (I would very much like to see Babayants as Puccini’s Scarpia!)

Gianpiero Ruggeri and Vazgen Gazaryan

The first half of the opera gala was concluded with a beautifully performed duet from Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Gianpiero Ruggeri as Simon Boccanegra and Vazgen Gazaryan as Fiesco. The dynamic duo excellently portrayed the stirring emotions and discomfort expressed in Verdi’s passionate music. Both singers were so much into their characters and the scene that the audience felt as if they, too, were participating actively in the reconciliation of Simon and Fiesco. Very moving performance that left the audience at the edge of their seats.

The second half of the Opera Gala began with the orchestra’s performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s overture to Don Giovanni. The ominous opening chords shook the audience back to their senses and prepared them for the second half of the concert.

Vazgen Gazaryan came on next and performed Leporello’s hilariously cruel aria Madamina, il catalogo è questo from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Gazaryan did a superb job at immediately catching the audience’s attention with his acute story telling and hand gesticulations. His voice portrayed all the various moods (I mean different women) that Mozart’s music implies. His artistic skills definitely came out the most in this number, as he added extra sounds like sighs and groans, but voi sapete quel che fa. Overall, very funny and Mozart-esque!

Hasmik Torosyan as Musetta from Puccini’s La Boheme

Hasmik Torosyan was next, performing È strano… A fors’é lui…Sempre libera from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. Torosyan’s extremely versatile voice was beautiful for Violetta’s Aria. Torosyan executed the coloratura runs with graceful ease, while still producing heavy and rich tones in sections where they were called for. This really helped Torosyan’s portrayal of the tormented Violetta, and the mixed feelings and illusions that she experiences in this aria.

After Torosyan’s awe-inspiring performance, the philharmonic orchestra performed Gioacchino Rossini’s overture to Il Barbiere di Siviglia. This performance served as a mood-switch, urging the audience to brighten up again after the exhilarating Verdi.

Gianpiero Ruggeri

Gianpiero Ruggeri came on next, for the last time that evening, to perform the all-time favorite Figaro’s Cavatina from Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Ruggeri came onstage after the music had already begun and mesmerized the audience with his energetic performance and excellent communication, both signature traits of Figaro! Throughout the performance, Ruggeri consistently pointed at various audience and orchestra members, and offered them a haircut. Ruggeri even had props hidden away in his pockets, which he revealed towards the middle of the performance.

Liparit Avestisyan then performed Nemorino’s morbid aria Una furtiva lagrima from Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore. An exquisite masterpiece in itself, Nemorino’s Romance never fails to bring tears into the listener’s eyes, and Avestisyan’s earnest performance did just that.

Liparit Avetisyan, Maestro Eduard Topchjan,
and Ani Yorentz

The pseudo-last number on the program was Adina’s and Nemorino’s  duet from L’Elisir d’amore, performed by Ani Yorentz and Liparit Avetisyan. The duet, funny and filled with unexpected violence, was hilariously put together. Yorentz as the enraged Adina and Avetisyan as the partially drunk and lovesick Nemorino concluded the official program with a strong bang, not with a whimper.

As an encore, Ani Yorentz and Liparit Avetisyan performed Merry Widow Waltz by Franz Lehàr. This duet was a beautiful conclusion to a lovely gala concert.

Please stay around for my article on La Boheme with the same beautiful cast, Eduard Topchjan conducting, and absolutely gorgeous constumes by designers Gevorg and Vartan Tarloyan!

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer

An eloquen remembrance by Armenian National Philharmonic

May 14th, 2015
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

Armenia’s struggle for international acknowledgment that the extermination of more than a million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War was genocide has been the work of historians and politicians. But it is also a job for art, especially with the recent 100th anniversary of the first deportations from Turkey.

On Tuesday, Armenia was awarded the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for best national pavilion, “Armenity,” which addresses the Armenian diaspora. Armenia is also a musical nation, and on Tuesday, the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra made its first appearance in Walt Disney Concert Hall with “A Concert of Remembrance.”

Founded in Armenia’s capital of Yerevan 90 years ago, shortly after the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union, the orchestra had the reputation as a solid Soviet band while still maintaining its spirited national identity.

Nearly all of its artistic directors and principal conductors, as well as its players, have been and continue to be Armenian. An important exception was the twentysomething Valery Gergiev, who led the orchestra in the early 1980s.

The Disney Hall program, conducted by Eduard Topchjan (artistic director and principal conductor since 2000), represented both the orchestra’s Armenian and Soviet heritage. Splashy potboilers — the most popular numbers from Khachaturian’s ballet “Spartacus” and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony — opened and closed the concert.

It was a notably less ambitious, or commemorative, occasion than the imaginative and comprehensive all-Armenian gala program given last week in Washington, D.C., the orchestra’s only other U.S. stop on its first North American tour in 19 years.

But there was also Tigran Mansurian’s significantly somber Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, featuring an eloquent young soloist, Anush Nikoghosyan. The 76-year-old composer, who divides his time between Yerevan and Glendale, represents both to his country, where he is a national figure, and the international music community, the soul of Armenia.

Like much of Mansurian’s work, this 1981 violin concerto is interior music. The orchestra is small, only 18 strings. There is an underlying quality of dirge. Melodies are made of few notes, but they are so intensely beautiful that they seem to capture the very essence of beauty. The tempo is always slow. For much of nearly 30 minutes, the dynamics remain ethereally soft, except for explosions of shocking anger, which are breathtaking in their violence.

As far as can be determined, this was the first time any of Mansurian’s music, a mainstay of the Dilijan chamber music series at the Colburn School across the street, has been played at Disney. It is a perfect venue for it, but a half-hour of demandingly serious music between showpieces was not a good idea for an antsy, gregarious crowd, which added a percussion section of shuffled feet and coughing.

The orchestra, on the other hand, does not give a gregarious impression. Topchjan, who led the program without scores, is an unsmiling, serious, commanding conductor. His orchestra is a serious, stony-faced group as well. Not a single player broke a hint of a smile, even when showered with enthusiastic bravos and whistles.

The seriousness did help, though, with Khachaturian. A sugary Adagio was tart and grand. Spartacus’ garish victory music was stern and compelling.

The debate continues about what Shostakovich meant with his 1937 Fifth Symphony, whether the composer acted as a sop to Stalin or employed surreptitiously dissident context to harmonic consonances. Topchjan’s approach suggested the latter.

There were few sweet sounds. The strings produced a Russian bite. The winds avoided mellowness. Brass could be edgy. Climaxes were permitted to hurt ears. The orchestra did produce some surprising humor in a drunken rendition of the Allegretto, but that vanished with an intently sorrowful slow movement. Shostakovich’s bombastic victory march at the end had the character of tanks not stopping for man, woman or child.

The mournful encore was “Shushani” by Edvard Mirzoyan, chosen to commemorate the late composer’s 94th birthday Tuesday. The audience had the last word when cheers, which sounded more celebratory than impatient, interrupted Mirzoyan’s quiet close.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer

Kim Kashkashian Wins Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo

February 11th, 2013
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Armenian American violist Kim Kashkashian won the award for the recording “Kurtág & Ligeti: Music for Viola” at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards this evening.

Kim Kashkashian (Photo by Steve Riskind)

Kashkashian has established herself as one of the most accomplished artists of her generation. Inspiring world-wide critical acclaim, she has been hailed by The San Francisco Chronicle as “an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone.” The New York Times has joined in these accolades, praising her “rich, mellow timbre and impressive artistry.”

In recent seasons, Kim Kashkashian has appeared as soloist with the major orchestras of New York, Berlin, London, and Munich. and Tokyo. Her recital appearances take her to Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Kashkashian has made guest appearances with the Tokyo, Guarneri, and Galimir Quartets and toured with a unique quartet which included violinists Gidon Kremer and Daniel Phillips and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Her June 2000 recording of concertos by Bartók, Eötvös and Kurtág won the 2001 Cannes Classical Award for a premiere recording by soloist with orchestra. In January 2002, ECM New Series released Voci, her recording of two large works by Luciano Berio. The album comprises the title work for viola and orchestra as well as Naturale, a related work for viola and percussion (Robyn Schulkowsky), and archival field recordings of Sicilian folk music. Hayren and Monodia, released in 2003 and 2004, respectively, focus on Kashkashian’s work with the Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian.

Kashkashian’s extensive teaching activities have included professorships at the University of Indiana in Bloomington and at Conservatories in Freiburg and Berlin, Germany. In September 2000, she began teaching viola and chamber music at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, of Armenian descent, Kashkashian graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied with Walter Trampler and Karen Tuttle.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer

Michel Legrand: In Armenia I feel to be in my grandfathers’ land and become more emotional

October 17th, 2012
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 2, ARMENPRESS: The words “the talented Armenian is talented in everything” are not in vain. This saying more than meets the French Armenian composer, musician and piano player Michel Legrand, whose life experience has proven that talent is a thing that everybody has got, but not everyone can use it.

Armenpress presents its exclusive interview with the world famous composer Michel Legrand.

 

Mr. Legrand, on October 20 you will celebrate your 80th anniversary in Armenia. With what feelings you will participate in the jubilee party, organized in your homeland?

Every time, when I come to Armenia, the first thought I have is that I am on my grandfathers’ land and I am enwrapped by the feeling of deep request. In general, on those days I become more emotional. Before the massacres implemented by the Turks my grandfather was the last from our family to remain in Armenia, who then escaped to France and gave birth to my mother, and then the Armenians were spread through me and my children.

Every time I come to Armenia, I again live through all this. I wish to shake hands with all the Armenians, with whom we are connected with inseparable ties. Armenia is a country, which was under pressure much and lived many dramatic moments, tragedies, but it is pleasant that currently the country is reviving.

During your childhood the best friend of yours was the piano. Now whom you entrusted this “position”?

You are right. The piano has always been and remains my best friend.
You have issued more than a hundred CDs. Are you satisfied with the productivity of your work or you could have done more? What news from you should we be waiting for?

I am satisfied that I can write and compose. I am satisfied with my music, which is not so bad, I guess. In the future as well I will continue doing my work, composing music as I have always done and I will continue recording progress. I hope that they would be more and more interesting.

You have been rewarded with all the possible awards: 3 Oscars, 5 Grammies and Emmies, 12 Golden Globes. Is there any award, about which you have dreamed of?

All the awards are equal to me. The most important thing is the inner world and the heart of the person. The most important is the recording continuing progress in your work. And you should not forget about the circumstance to work with your heart.

When you look back at your past, what do you regret for? What would you like to change?

I do not regret about anything. It is quite late to change something. I do not look back at my past, it does not interest me, as everything that is today will become yesterday tomorrow.

One more question concerning the Armenian Genocide. All the Armenians of France struggle against the denial. What do you think what results this struggle would bring to?

The Armenians of France have always struggled so that the Armenian Genocide is recognized in France. They have fought as well that their country (meaning Armenia) would win and be stronger. All the Armenians of the world struggle that the Genocide is recognized, as in case of the Shoah (Holocaust).

 

Interviewed by Arusik Zakharyan

 

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

spacer

Armenian “Turandot” scored off against the Italians

July 31st, 2012
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

 Armenian  “Turandot” scored off against the Italians 

This is the opinion of specialists after the Armenian premiere of “Turandot”

The Armenian premiere as a concert performance of Puccini’s “Turandot” opera, one of the masterpieces of all-time opera literature, which took place at the beginning of July and was repeated on July 28 thus concluding the APO 2011-2012 concert season, still remains in the limelight of the experts as one of the main musical events of the year. Armenian audience of operatic art is not always given such a chance to deal with masterpieces of such caliber performed on a highest level like it was with Eduard Topchjan’s version of “Turandot”. (more…)

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Tags:, .

spacer

The Strad Recommends

May 23rd, 2012
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

An Armenian cellist explores his musical heritage.

Alexander Chaushian is on sparkling form of this highly enterprising and beautifully recorded CD, Khachaturian’s rarely heard. Concerto-Rhapsody is performed with tremendous conviction, but although this technical tour de force, originally written for Rostropovich, boasts some vintage melodic moments, the score is rather empty, with too much note-spinning. The darker hues of the Monograph for cello and orchestra by Suren Zakarian are far more convincing musically and receive an intensely imaginative performance from Chaushian. Inspired by the concept of the soul in conflict, the work deploys the cello in a high register with shimmering gentle clusters in the orchestral accompaniment. The emotional fervor increases with the cello incanting urgently before ebbing away in a a lighter vein.

 A similar use of harmonic clusters colours Vache Sharafyan’s suite, which with its ingenious allusions to the harmonic patterns and dance forms of the Baroque travels through a kaleidoscope of indecent timbres. Chaushian is again totally immersed in the vernacular and gives a searingly eloquent rendition. Equally enthralling is Sharafyan’s arrangement of Komitas’s Krunk (Crane) for duduk, piano and cello. As in the Suite, tonally conventional elements co-exist with the oscillating pitches and clusters of Sharafyan’s harmonic language to magical effect.

JOANNE TALBOT  

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer

Nareh Arghamanyan

May 17th, 2012
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

Rachmaninov Rocks:

Nareh Arghamanyan has developed by leaps and bounds since her 2008 Concours Musical International de Montréal victory, followed by a debut solo disc containing proficient yet overly rhapsodic performances of Liszt’s B minor and Rachmaninov’s B-flat minor sonatas. Arghamanyan’s new all-Rachmaninov recital reveals a more disciplined, controlled, architecturally aware, and expressively sophisticated artist. (more…)

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer

Armenian Rhapsody

December 8th, 2011
by
under English Articles.
No Comments.

Review by V. Vasan

http://www.allmusic.com/album/armenian-rhapsody-w271565/review

Cellist Alexander Chaushian is wonderful artist with excellent technique and musicianship, conveying a wide range of emotions and styles of music. The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Eduard Topchjan is an excellent accompaniment to the cellist, equally capable of evoking many emotions through their technically solid and artistically superior musicianship. (more…)

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

spacer