The curtains at Pasadena’s Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Performing Arts Center will rise at 8 p.m. on March 3 to welcome international opera luminary Isabel Bayrakarian to the AGBU Western Region.
The Grammy-winning Lebanese-born, Canada-raised Bayrakdarian will be singing beloved Armenian traditional and folk melodies, lullabies and prayers in an aptly titled concert called “Dream.” She will be accompanied by an ensemble of well known music masters in their own right, including Emanuel Hovannisyan (duduk), Jill Eilber (flute), and Ellie Choate (harp). Their performances will be set against panoramic visual interpretations created by the celebrated Syrian-Armenian painter Kevork Murad.
“This concert is truly unique,” states AGBU Arts Director Hayk Arsenyan. “It’s a rare opportunity for audiences of all ages and musical tastes to experience the intensity yet simplicity of the songs of our Armenian ancestors through a unique historical approach and the arrangements of an instrumental ensemble. It’s a fusion of two very different genres with a new multidisciplinary dimension added by Murad’s powerfully enchanting backdrops projected on the big screen,” Arsenyan added.
The event will be the first time that an A-List opera star graces the stage of the AGBU’s own performing arts center. Fortunately, the state-of-the-art facility was designed and equipped to do justice to performers at the top of their careers like Bayrakdarian.
After she and her family immigrated to Canada, she began paving her own path to stardom, first winning in 2000 the Operalia International Opera Competition founded by Placido Domingo. This launched her meteoric rise, with appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, Sante Fe Opera and the Canadian Opera Company among numerous other prestigious companies and world-class venues. In addition, Bayrakdarian is the recipient of the 2017 “Movses Khorenatsi” Medal—the Republic of Armenia’s highest cultural award. She was also presented with the 2017 “Komitas” Medal from Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora. In 2015, Bayrakdarian was officially recognized by the California Legislature Assembly for her contributions to the entertainment industry and promoting peace and tolerance. She also received an Honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.
“We are truly honored to welcome the incomparable Isabel Bayrakdarian and the esteemed musicians who arranged to take part in this extraordinary musical event,” stated AGBU Western Region Executive Director Gohar Stambolyan. “This is a golden opportunity for our audiences to experience a brilliant performance at a world-class arts and culture venue right here in Pasadena.”
The facility’s stunning Main Stage Theater Auditorium offers many assets and amenities: Comfortable seating for as many as 600, a motorized orchestra pit, a smaller “black box” stage, even a multi-purpose banquet room, box office, spacious dressing rooms and more. For more information about PAC, visit the website.
Tickets for the concert are on sale now at $45 and $55. To purchase, scan this QR code or visit the website. CDs of the performers will be on sale at the concert and Isabel Bayrakdarian will be available for signing.