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Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Isabel Bayrakdarian Brings "Lustrous Voice" to Gomidas Songs Recital

Isabel Bayrakdarian Gomidas Songs [cover]

Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian will perform songs from her Nonesuch debut, Gomidas Songs, at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, outside of Cleveland, tomorrow night. Bayrakdarian will be joined by her husband, pianist Serouj Kradjian, for the recital, which also includes works by Schubert, Bellini, Ravel, and others and will benefit the college's biannual Art Song Festival.

Bayrakdarian is featured in a preview of the concert by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Donald Rosenberg, who writes: "The Lebanon-born Canadian soprano of Armenian heritage has proved herself on the international operatic and recital stage, where her lustrous voice and expressive urgency are winning increasing approbation."

The acclaimed soprano talks to the Plain-Dealer of her love for the repertoire on the Nonesuch album, celebrating the work of Armenia's national composer, Gomidas Vardabet. "I think these songs are in the psyche of all Armenians, if we grew up with them or not," she tells Rosenberg. "For hundreds of years, Armenians were singing them in their villages and towns for various occasions. I grew up in Lebanon. As an Armenian living in the Diaspora, we tried to preserve our language, identity. If our language is gone, we disappear from the map, because it's so unique, so unlike any other language."

"In many ways, when I sing them, especially these songs, they come from a part of me that is very different from when I sing any other repertoire—the reason being the language, my mother tongue," she continues. "I don't have to think about it. It comes from a completely different place. I take risks to shape it the way I feel at the moment without feeling, 'Is this possible?' It flows, and it's never the same."

Read the complete article at

Bayrakdarian and Kradjian perform the program again next week at the University of Calgary's Rosza Centre. At the end of the month, she'll perform a Gomidas-centered program with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in Winnipeg. For more information, visit


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