The first part of the concert for Giuseppe Verdi's and Richard Wagner's 200th anniversary consisted exclusively of Verdi. Mr. Topchjan warmed up the stage with the philharmonic orchestra playing the overture to "I Vespri Siciliani". After that came Amelia's aria from "Un Ballo in Maschera", Morro, ma prima in grazia. This was performed with that freshness of the first sounds proclaimed on the stage. Mrs. Papian, after endless applauses, continued the first act of this concert with Elizabeth's aria from "Don Carlos", Tu che le vanita. After this, Mrs. Papian left and Mr. Topchjan returned to the stage alone. The overture to "La Forza del Destino" sounded in the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall of the Philharmonic Orchestra. Mrs. Papian then returned and sang Pace, pace mio dio from "La Forza del Destino". At this point, the Verdi part of the concert was over.
The Wagnarian part began with Mr. Topchjan leading the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in the overture to "Lohengrin". Mrs. Papian continued with Senta's ballad from "Der Fliegende Holländer". Then came Dich teure Halle from "Tannhäuser". After came the prelude and liebestod from "Tristan und Isolde". This was supposedly the end, or so we thought. After many rounds of enthusiastic applauses, Mrs. Papian returned with Mr. Topchjan and performed Ritorna Vincitor from Verdi's "Aida". This was a very pleasant surprise!
Mrs. Papian's voice was not big enough for Wagner. Her interpretation of Verdi's arias was much more interesting than her Wagner. Most of all, I enjoyed Pace, pace mio dio. Mrs. Papian graduated from the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan first as a violinist, then as a singer. Mrs. Papian sang Olympia in Tchouhadjan's Arshak II at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. This was a world premiere of the original version, performed in Armenian.
Mr. Topchjan also studied violin in the Yerevan Conservatory. He studied conducting with Ohan Durian. In 1991, Mr. Topchjan formed The Serenade Chanson Orchestra; and ensemble consisting of a group of Mr. Topchjan's friends from the Yerevan Conservatory. The Serenade became popular in Armenia and Europe.
Overall, the concert was very enjoyable, and Mrs. Papian's singing and acting skills were very exciting.Written by: Rubina Mazurka