KOHAR Symphony Orchestra and Choir, internationally acclaimed for its performances in cities around the world, performed in Lebanon on 24, 25 & 26 September 2010 after an eight-year interval.
The tickets were sold out long before the concert dates, attracting fans and audiences from almost every corner of the world and whose hearts and minds were set to be fascinated by the performances of KOHAR at the Roman Amphitheater of Zouk Mikael, Lebanon.
Not only the scenic beauty of the Amphitheater but also the scent of the sea breeze from the Mediterranean set the stage for the majestic view of the castle that was built on the stage to remind the audiences of the glorious Kingdom of Cilicia that was once home to most of the Armenians who settled in the Middle East after they were deported from their homelands almost a century ago.
The star of the performances was Maestro Sebouh Apkarian of Cyprus, who conducted the Symphony Orchestra and the Choir with his own flair and ingenuity. The first part of the program included classical, romantic, pop and folk songs and instrumental pieces, especially arranged for KOHAR with an emphasis on the traditional Armenian instruments such as the Doudoug, Kanon & Dehol. These were fused artistically to convey to the audience the nostalgia of the rich Armenian heritage and culture.
After a short intermission, the second part of the program began with jazz-fusion that enthused young and old audiences with the unique performance that used different instruments including the Armenian Zourna. The audience erupted with a thunderous applause which prompted the orchestra to continue anew setting the vibe into the amphitheater. After that invigorating ambiance, the program shifted to patriotic songs. While the somber tunes recalled the sorrow and pain that the Armenians suffered, KOHAR moved the audiences to an upbeat and lively tempo that sounded like the marching conquest of Armenian heroic past. Some of the songs were accompanied by KOHAR’s masterfully choreographed dancers who performed gracefully to the Armenian tunes with their elegant posture and charming smile.
The song “Verganknir Guiliguia” (Restore Cilicia) that was composed exclusively for KOHAR turned out to be one of the most favorite pieces in the program that thrilled the audiences even more as they waved with pride and dignity the flags of the Kingdom of Cilicia provided by KOHAR. The participation of the audience with KOHAR was a memorable aspect of the performances as the performers and the audience merged as one in their yearning to witness the restoration of Guiliguia to its past glory.
As the program continued to its finale with lively mood, the audiences compelled the Orchestra to perform additional 6 encores, bringing a colorful array of bright explosive fireworks that bolstered the midnight sky to mark the grand finale of the KOHAR concerts in the majestic Roman Amphitheater in Zouk Mikaël.
The final performance, in its entire splendor, was yet another masterfully enriched fusion of flawless orchestrated songs, dances and pantomime acts. The echoes of the thunderous ongoing applause filled the air with notes of powerful dignified emotion. The magnificently adorned floral stage quickly became occupied by the enthusiastic crowds, who congratulated the performing artists for their masterful performances.
KOHAR was founded in 1997 by patron of Armenian culture Harout Khatchadourian of Lebanon, who sustains all the activities of KOHAR and its worldwide concerts, including the recent performances in Lebanon. The ensemble is named in honor of his mother Kohar Khatchadourian and in memory of his father Aram Khatchadourian.
KOHAR has not only charmed the audiences during the three-day concerts, but also stylistically positioned itself as the only entity that has revived and promulgated the Armenian culture and alphabet as a renewed oath for the new generations to carry on such a noble aim and cause. The proceeds of the concerts will be distributed to the needy Armenian schools in Lebanon.