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UCSC BARNSTORM: Musical Theater Scenes Fall 2017

Taking place in a theater resembling a barn - or maybe it is a barn - the Fall 2017 Musical Theater Scenes was the perfect way to de-stress before finals (only if you were in the audience, of course). Directed by Ben Chau-Chiu, Josiah Bartel, and Zade Dardari,  the program was a mix-mash of all your favorite scenes from all your favorite musicals.


The show openedwith Hello! from The Book of Mormon, featuring the entire company of performers. The second scene was Been a Long Day from How To Succeed In Business, a very cute and funny performance by Kali Kecskemeti, Sydney Nation, and Zade Dardari. After this uplifting introduction, the program rolled through a beautiful performance of Take Me Or Leave Me from Rent, done by Katie Charlton and Micaela Sinclair and a romantic spook, Crazier Than You, from The Addams Family, done by Kelsey Schroder and William Seifert. The tongue-twister Getting Married Today from Company was done by Josiah Bartel, Margot Hoffman, and Sydney Nation. Then ca…
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Soprano Lianna Haroutounian In Concert!

Amidst the bustling mess that Thanksgiving Weekend produced upon most people who celebrate, I was extremely lucky to get to watch Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian performing at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, with Tamara Sanikidze on piano. The program featured a wide variety of different pieces, as well as an Armenian folk melodies set, arranged by Komitas, and a Russian set, which she dedicated to the recently deceased baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Haroutounian also included a solo in the program for Tamara Sanikidze, who performed Frederic Chopin's Nocturne No. 20. This was quite the unusual turn for a solo concert, but I thought the non-traditional move was only an extra bit of enjoyment for the audience, especially considering how moving and emotionally charged Sanikidze's solo performance was.

Haroutounian began the program with a set of Italian songs, all of which were by Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti. She began with La Promessa, by Gioacchino Rossini, a ver…

The UCSC Theater Arts Department: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht

Political satire and allegorical recounts of history come across as nonsense if they are unrelated to the current times. But since the topic of Hitler has been on the tips of many Americans' tongues, especially in conversations regarding the current political situation in the United States, Bertolt Brecht's satirical play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is more than just history.

The UCSC  Theater Arts Department's production of this "silly" masterpiece, directed by Erik Pearson, took on a modern approach to the Chicago-based gangster story, despite essentially sticking to the origin of the satire. From the very start, when the announcer - played by Alyssa Ponce - introduced the audience to all the slimy, sleazy gangsters that would be part of the play, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt while everybody else was in 1930s dress. As she executed her monologue, I got the notion that while she was introducing us to this mob of unpleasant historical figures, she wa…

VERY IMPORTANT NEWS

What you are about to read, gently speaking, is out of my realm of typical articles. If you've read some of my other posts, you probably know that I usually write about operas, classical music, and recently I did my first dramatic play article (which was super fun, by the way. . . you should check it out!) Back to what I was saying. I firmly believe that it is my duty and obligation, as a human being living on Planet Earth, to address the issue you will now read about below. It is very important to me and - I hope - important to you, too.

If you've been off the internet for the past two months, you probably haven't seen the several lengthy articles regarding the upcoming alien invasion. The sources aren't especially consistent when it comes to facts, but I think that this glitch is in reality the aliens trying to intercept the factual information that our fellow humans are putting out there for our use. I also think that in the case the aliens don't mean us any ha…

Theatre Adventures: Ganna Slutsky's play "The Maniac"

On September 17, 2017, the Russian-Dramatic Theatre after K. S. Stanislavsky in Yerevan presented Ganna Slutsky's two-act tragicomedy The Maniac. Premiering in Yerevan on March 25, 2011, The Maniac is a play with enough plot twists to keep you puzzling over what just happened even long after you already left the theatre.


Led by artistic director Alexander Grigorian and stage director Yervand Yengibarian, actors Arman Kazaryan, Tatevik Melkonyan, and Manvel Khachatrian performed the nameless roles of Him, Her, and The Maniac. The play opens with a husband and wife; she is a playwrite and he is a director. He has just won an oscar-like award as best director, and tomorrow morning they are to attend yet another ceremony. A deplorable looking Christmas Tree flickers in the corner of the stage, and the couple prepares to celebrate New Years.



The audience finds out about the playwrite's daughter, and that although she was raised by the director, she isn't his biological daughte…

Gayane: Aram Khachaturian's Touching Ballet Performed At the A. Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet National Academic Theatre

On September 16, 2017, the Armenian National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiarian performed Aram Khacharurian's mood-lightening ballet Gayane, conducted by Atanes Arakelyan and staged by Vilen Galstyan (People's Artist of RA), also the head ballet-master. The stunning set was drawn by the talented Armenian painter and Honored Painter of RA Minas Avetisyan(1928-1975), and the costumes, which played with the set very well, were done by costume designer Rubine Hovhannisyan. Gayane : Syuzanna Pirumyan (Honored Artist of RA
Armen: Sevak Avetisyan
Giko: Grigor Grigorian
Nune: Arshaluys Margaryan
Karen: Garegin Babelyan
Gayane's Father: Hrachua Hovhannisyan
Giko's Father: Zaven Harutyunyan (Honored Artist of RA) Although the plot of Gayane is tense, with all the unrequited love and kidnapping, the ending is happy. It's so happy that the 3rd act of the ballet is nothing but a wedding celebration! The music is emotionally charged and unless you know th…

The Last Judgement: Verdi's Masterful Requiem and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

On September 14, 2017, the Armenian National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiarian performed Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem, but with a visual twist of murals from the Sistine Chapel, done by Michelangelo. The pictures were projected by "innovative technologies of the future" which allowed to create a "three-dimensional reproduction of the images of Michelangelo's masterpieces". Conducted by San Francisco-born conductor Konstantin Orbelyan Jr. (nephew of the famous Armenian conductor Konstantin Orbelyan), soloists soprano Marine Deinyan, guest mezzo-soprano from the USA Eleni Matos, bass Hayk Tigranyan, and tenor Sargis Aghamalyan performed Verdi's Requiem in this new realization of the stunning centerpiece of classical music. The visual effects were created by Italian stage and visual director Paolo Micciche. In Micciche's own words, "[t]he music of Verdi's Requiem has the same dramaturgy and rhythm as the great frescos by M…