Skip to main content

Soprano Lianna Haroutounian In Concert!

Lianna Haroutounian
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 very lively selection, followed by L'Invito, also by Rossini, and then Vincenzo Bellini's mellow Vaga Luna, and then Bellini's Dopo L'oscura nembo and Gaetano Donizetti's Me voglio fa'na casa. The Bel Canto mood of the first set, performed with exquisite phrasing and story-telling, made way for a surprise during the second set of Armenian folk songs, arranged by the one and only Komitas. I was pleased to recognize almost everything on her program, even the Armenian folk songs. Haroutounian’s execution of the Armenian folk songs portrayed the spirit of each song separately; some were playful, some heartbroken, and some were beautiful love confessions. Whatever the message, Haroutounian added her character and personality to each song.

Tamara Sanikidze
Following intermission came the Russian set, which, as I already mentioned above, Haroutounian dedicated her performance of to Hvorostovsky. The set opened with Tchaikovsky's Cradle Song, a very beautiful piece and one of my favorites! The entire program, really, was an awesome bundle of all my favorite musical compositions. The next piece was Why?, also by Tchaikovsky. The heightened emotional energy behind the second piece counteracted the lulling quality of the first one. The next two pieces were Rachmaninov's The Dream and I Wait For You. Haroutounian and Sanikidze kept the audience's breaths held until the very last sound in both Rachmaninovs. I enjoyed the set very much.

The last set Haroutounian performed were opera arias. She completed the programmed concert with Ah, je ris de me voie si belle en ce miroir from Gounod's Faust, a very flirtatious and innocent aria filled with nuanced phrasing and acting. Haroutounian's performance of Poveri Fiori, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, as well as her performance of Ecco respiro appena were both inspiring and driven from the very core. I found it impossible to look away from the stage, with both Haroutounian and Sanikidze working together to create such brilliantly sounding music.

Now, several encore pieces proceeded the last programmed piece. Lianna Haroutounian performed Ebben! Ne Andro Lontano from Catalani's La Wally, Gershwin's Summertime, and Dvorak's Songs My Mother Taught Me. Haroutounian also performed an Armenian Sharakan, but I unfortunately was unable to identify which one specifically. The encore pieces varied greatly in style and Haroutounian's performance of each, coming one after the other, was effortless.

The recital took the audience to another place, so to speak, and Haroutounian and Sanikidze created images with the music that were vibrant and memorable.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…