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Bayrakdarian's exquisite singing of five Tchaikovsky songs was unforgettable. The vocal amber and keenly projected drama of 'Sred' Shumnnovo Bala' ('Amid the Din of the Ball') was magnificent. She brought wit and fun to 'Kakushka' ('The Cuckoo') and what perfect singing! The beautiful lyricism and glowing warmth of Bayrakdarian's manner in 'Den li Tsarit' ('Whether Day Dawns') were pure magic! All of the haunting melancholy and tragedy of Tchaikovsky's music lived anew in her glorious singing! What a Tatiana in Eugene Onegin or Lisa in Pique Dame she will make!

As an encore Ms Bayrakdarian offered an aria from Rossini's Elisazbeta de Inglaterra (which bears more than a small resemblance to 'Una Voce Poco Fa' from The Barber of Seville -- Rossini as ever the skillful recycler). The brilliant coloratura, effortless vocal dynamics, and beautifully rounded tone brought Joan Sutherland to mind. Tremendous bel canto vocalism! The Canadian-Armenian pianist Serouj Kradjian provided Ms Bayrakdarian with wonderfully subtle, exquisitely shaded support. A perfect collaboration!

Ms Bayrakdarian's eclectic, audacious program was a model of intelligent music making. With her magnificent vocal gifts and theatrical flair, she is already a great singer! Isabel Bayrakdarian is an artist in the grand vocal tradition of Ponselle, Callas, Sutherland, and Caballé!

Copyright © 3 April 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA




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