Cleopatra of Armenia
Praised for years by the likes of the New York Times and The Guardian for her opera performances, Isabel Bayrakdarian’s voice is matched by an irresistible stage presence.
And what a voice it is. Supremely virtuosic but strikingly multihued, it resonates with audiences wherever it’s heard—from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack to the world’s top opera and concert houses. Her voice has also changed the MCO forever. With Isabel, we’ve toured to Carnegie Hall, enchanted our hometown audience, and recorded a JUNO-nominated CD.
At her June concert with the MCO, Isabel sings arias by master-composers Gluck, Hasse, and Vivaldi—all from operas titled Il Tigrane. The title is a reference to Armenian King Tigran II. His reign, which saw Armenia emerge as the strongest state to Rome’s east, inspired a libretto by Francesco Silvani that was adapted separately by the three composers just mentioned. But it’s the King’s wife Cleopatra (no, not that Cleopatra) who is the focus of Isabel’s project.
The singer tells us that while “historians omitted Cleopatra’s name and existence completely … she was instrumental in making him the greatest king in Armenian history.” Evidently she also inspired some tremendous arias, which Isabel promises to deliver with her usual lyricism and virtuosity. Anne Manson conducts.
A scorching conclusion to the MCO’s 19/20 season and perfect way to usher in the summer!
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Armenian-Canadian soprano burst onto the international opera scene. In 1997, the same year she graduated cum laude in engineering from the University of Toronto, Isabel was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A fork in the road lay before her. That she chose the artistic path now hardly seems like a gamble, because the illustrious career that has followed has been so well deserved.
The concert begins at 7.30pm on June 9th in Westminster United Church, 745 Westminster at Maryland. Tickets, at $36 for adults, $34 for seniors and $15 for students and those under-30 (incl. GST), are available at McNally Robinson, Organic Planet (877 Westminster Ave), and on MCO’s Ticketline at 204-783-7377.
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Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Westminster United Church
9 June 2020
Anne Manson, conductor
Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano
Queen of Armenia
—arias by Vivaldi, Hasse and Gluck, based on the libretto by Silvani about the Armenian King Tigran II, whose wife, Cleopatra, played a crucial role in his reign.
Johann Adolph Hasse
Sinfonia in G Minor
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Dance of the Furies
Concert Sponsor / Gail Asper Family Foundation Inc.