Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian to Perform at VPAC, 10/22

Internationally renowned Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian returns to her roots in a program featuring traditional Armenian music including troubadour songs, ancient liturgy, lullabies, hymns and folk music through the centuries. Accompanying her will be Camerata Pacifica and pianist/composer Serouj Kradjian whose "Diramayr Hymns" for voice and cello will be a world premiere. This recital, performed as part of the 13th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days, marks Ms. Bayrakdarian's VPAC debut.

"Isabel's gifts as a musician are extraordinary," said VPAC's Executive Director Thor Steingraber. "This music is the core to who she is as an artist, and to hear her perform this repertory in VPAC's great hall will be an evening people won't want to miss. We are truly honored to present Isabel and her tribute to the Centenary of the Armenian genocide and in conjunction with the 13th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days."

"This repertoire is my truth compass," said Ms. Bayrakdarian. "It sets my soul free and allows me to express and sing from a place that is both spiritual and ancient. It allows me to tap into the history, legacy, and lives of my ancestors, and be their continuing voice in the present."

My Songs, My Heritage will feature a wide variety of Armenian music covering several different centuries, from ageless folk songs, to 18th century troubadour music and 20th century Armenian songs, to the world premiere of Serouj Kradjian's new work. The evening will also feature music by noted composer Komitas Vardapet who was largely responsible for rescuing Armenian folk music from oblivion: the songs he collected and arranged are among the few surviving records of a musical culture that was decimated by the Armenian genocide that began in 1915. Ms. Bayrakdarian's recording of traditional Armenian folk music, Gomidas Songs, received a Grammy Award nomination. "Bayrakdarian's pure, unaffected singing makes a straightforward and moving connection with this classical evocations of folk-derived music. Her utter naturalness is reminiscent of recordings by the late Netania Davrath-in the repertory, that's the highest possible compliment," said Time Out New York.

About Isabel Bayrakdarian:
Isabel Bayrakdarian burst onto the international opera scene after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1997, starred in A View from the Bridge in Chicago and the captured first prize in the 2000 Operalia competition held in Los Angeles. Since then she has performed onstage at LA Opera and at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has performed at most of the world's major opera houses, most notably at her home company, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto where her roles range from Gluck's Euridice to Debussy's Mellisande to Poulenc's Blanche in Dialogues of the Carlmelits; and away from home she's shone as Monteverdi's Poppea in Barcelona, Handel's Romilda (Serse) in Dresden, and Janacek's Vixen in New York, Florence and Japan. Ms. Bayrakdarian is admired as much for her stunning stage presence as for her exceptional musicality, and she has followed a career path completely her own. Other famous roles include several Mozart operas such as Susanna in Le Mariage de Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Pamina in The Magic Flute, which have been her calling cards, along with Marzelline in Fidelio, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville

Ms. Bayrakdarian is perhaps best known for her singing on the Grammy Award-winning soundtracks for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and on the Grammy nominated soundtrack of Atom Egoyan's Ararat. She sang on the BBC produced short film "Holocaust-A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz" which generated close to a million views on YouTube.

Ms. Bayrakdarian has received many grants and other awards in addition to the first prize in the Operalia: three Juno awards, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the 2005 Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Leonie Rysanek Award from the George London Foundation, and a Metropolitan Opera National Council Award in 1997.

Born in Lebanon of proud Armenian heritage, and now a citizen of Canada, Bayrakdarian moved with her family to Toronto as a teenager. Her earliest singing experience was at church, which remains - along with her family - the central focus of her life. She is the subject of a CBC-TV film entitled A Long Journey Home that documents her first trip to Armenia; on another trip there recently she recorded a disc of songs by the country's national composer, Komitas Vardapet, with her husband and the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. She holds an honors degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto.

Tickets for My Songs, My Heritage range from $30 - $70 and can be purchased by visiting or calling (818) 677-3000. Valley Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), 18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8448, at the corner of Nordhoff and Lindley.

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