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

Aram Khachaturian
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.
Atanes Arakelyan
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)
Left to Right: Vilen Galstyan, Syuzanna Pirumyan, Sevak Avetisyan, Grigor Grigorian
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 the plot beforehand, the music doesn't give anything away in the plot. Gayane is in love with Armen, but evil, evil Giko wants to marry her himself! Gayane doesn't accept his love and affection, and what is the poor guy to do then? Kidnap her, of course! And that's exactly what Giko does, but to his great discomfort, Armen notices that Gayane is missing and leads the entire village in search of their beloved Gayane. Because the entire village had been, as it seems, rooting for Gayane and Armen (and not Gayane and Giko😖), they find Gayane and exile poor Giko.
Minas Avetisyan artwork
The bombatious performance of the orchestra, led by Maestro Arakelyan, was perfect for Khachaturian's passionate and electric music. The whole piece is a big climax, one powerful number following another, never dropping the inner pulse. Some audience members were being disruptive, and some were making negative and unpleasant comments, related hardly or not related at all to the performance onstage. But what can I say? Hater's gonna hate, am I right?
Syuzanna Pirumyan from September 16, 2017 performance of Gayane
PC: Tigran Arakelyan
The ballet began with the ensemble dancers in colorful, national Armenian costumes. The stage was ablaze with the flames from the dresses (and Minas' set really created a stunning background for the plot), and when Gayane enters, everyone's gaze was immediately drawn to her. Was this because of her bright red costume or the grand stage presence with which Syuzanna Pirumyan conducted herself onstage, I don't know; but the program's description of Gayane as personifying "Armenia's bright colours and vibrant shades" was justified by Pirumyan's ethereal, and yet so humanly performance. Pirumyan's irreproachable grace onstage was memorable, as well as the elegant way she depicted the young and enamored Gayane.
Photograph from another performance of Gayane
PC: Tigran Arakelyan
When Giko enters for the first time, it is clear that he is the antagonist of this story, a conclusion based not only on his grimly ominous black attire but also on the program's plot summary of the ballet. Grigor Grigorian's harsh and quick movements - I lack better terminology for dance - excellently portrayed the desperation and emotional suffering of Giko. Grigoryan's solo scenes, during which Giko undergoes severe internal conflict caused by external conflict, were enthralling with their heart-wrenching nature and sincerity. You almost couldn't help feeling bad for Giko, who is projected as pure evil.
Check out how full the house was!
Sevak Avetisyan, who was the young Armen in the performance, brought out the passionately devoted Armen. His love scenes with Pirumyan were wonderfully executed, with excellent team work and genuine depiction of affection (good ensemble, like they say of musicians). Avetisyan's and Grigorian's violent scenes were charged with energy, and when Pirumyan appeared as the horrified Gayane trying to prevent Giko and Armen from fighting, the stage came even more alive than it was before, and the thoughts of each character were clear, despite the lack of words: Gayane's horror at the possible violence caused by her; Armen's desire to protect his sweetheart from Giko's romantic pursuits; and Giko's desperation and anger at being rejected.
PC: Tigran Arakelyan
Another performance of Gayane
Arshaluys Margaryan and Garegin Babelyan, performing the roles of Nune and Karen, were a very charismatic couple, serving as a more light and less tragic couple to Armen and Gayane. They both wore simpler clothing, but still in the traditional Armenian manner, and their support of Gayane and Armen added a touch of magic to the story. Both dancers were quick and hectic, another contrast to the elongated and melismatic movements of Gayane and Armen. Margaryan and Babelyan were exceptionally entertaining in the third half, consisting solely of celebratory dances one after another, in the program's words "passionate, lyric, and contagious".
PC: Tigran Arakelyan
Another performance of Gayane
Of course, the Saber Dance was one of the many highlights, with the men's ensemble dancers pumping up the beat (already rather pumped) with their energetic and vigorous battle dance. Although this dance is at the very end of the ballet, so the dancers are already exhausted from the previous two acts, the ensemble, along with Avetisyan and Babelyan, gave their all. The audience was inspired.
PC: Tigran Arakelya
Another performance of Gayane
The visuals of this production, which I have seen several times during the past few years, play a very prominent role in the overall effect of the performance. I am particularly excited about the costumes. Armen wears a very successful visual contrast to Giko's black costume: a red costume matching in color with Gayane's. In the second half, Armen's and Gayane's costumes changed from red to orange, symbolizing their parallel emotional switches, and Giko's remains black, also symbolizing his static nature and refusal to accept any form of rejection. His costume never changes, much like his desires and ambitions never change. Gayane and Armen are both willing to be flexible with each other and with the surrounding world, and their superiority comes with their ability to change and to mold in unison, and, therefore, their ability to remain together even through hard times. In the third act, after Giko is already exiled, Gayane and Armen are in all white because they are getting married. The lack of Giko's black clothing onstage is another beautiful metaphor for kindness always defeating evil - the joyful epilogue to the happy tale!

PC: Tigran Arakelyan
Another perfomance of Gayane
PC: Tigran Arakelyan
Another performance of Gayane.
(idk what's happening)

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