Soprano With an Armenian Accent

Posted on March 5, 2012

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Isabel Bayrakdarian & Serouj Kradjian

The vigor of Isabel Bayrakdarian, Canadian-based soprano, together with her husband and pianist, Serouj Kradjian, filled the Mandel Hall of the University of Chicago. During a two-hour performance, the couple presented song recitals that varied from Armenian folk song arrangements by Komidas to a piquant bouquet of tango-songs by Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzolla.

In one part of the concert Bayrakdarian and Kradjiann, shared the jewels of their Armenian heritage. They performed four folk pieces about patriotism and love:  all by a conductor, singer, priest and ethnomusicologist, Komidas. This made it rather personal both for some of the members in the audience (like myself) and the performers alike.

What I love the most about live performances is those sometimes awkward and yet sincere stories behind the meaning of an upcoming piece in the program. The soprano did not disappoint. She shared that the couple’s young son, Ari, loves Komitas’s lullaby. Perhaps for that particular reason, this was the most heartfelt singing of the evening making it the most memorable.

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Isabel Bayrakdarian Singing "Oror" by Komidas

Dressed in a black taffeta gown- second designer-made gown of the evening – Bayrakdarian was showcasing not only the range of her voice but also her rather impressive elocution whether she was singing in French, German, Italian or Spanish.

Kradjian, in his turn, performed zealous rhythms of Osvaldo Golijov’s “Levante” with a contagious fervor arousing long and firm applause from the audience.

In fact John von Rhein, of the Chicago Tribune, gives a profound review of the evening, which I am sure you will enjoy. Read it here.

The evening ended on an amusing note as the couple performed a humorous rendition of Rossini’s “Cat Duet,” continued by a reception with an Armenian accent over a traditional sweet paklava.

Audience

Audience

Serouj Kradjian

Serouj Kradjian

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