Bayrakdarians Armenian hymns moved films composer to call
The Gazette, Montreal, Saturday, March 29, 2003
Bill Rankin, Canwest News Service
Edmonton Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian has held crowds spellbound in music halls all over the world, but shes never had an audience as big as the one that has bee hearing her sing in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
On the phone from Toronto, Bayrakdarian gleefully reminds the caller that The Two Towers went on to win a Grammy.
Bayrakdarian says she got The Two Towers call after Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore heard some of her otherworldly Armenian hymns on her first CD, Joyous Light.
The composer heard it and said, This is the voice Ive been looking for, she says.
Both Evenstar the song she sings on The Two Towers soundtrack and her albums Armenian liturgical music reveal a singer who clearly loves the sound of the pure human voice.
Her repertoire includes opera shes off to Brussels to sing Elisa in Mozarts Il Re Pastore but it also features Rachmaninoffs Vocalese and Villa Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, both songs without words.
Bayrakdarian says shes after something very personal in her music.
What Im most interested in is beautiful singing, not bel canto repertoire, which is Bellini, Dnizetti, Rossini.
Im interested in something that speaks to me. Thats my main guideline to everything that I sing, whether its opera, recital or concert.
But what grounds Bayrakdarians life are her Armernian heritage and Christian tradition. Christos Hatziss Light From the Cross, dedicated to Bayrakdarian and premiered Wednesday at a concert in Edmonton, is an orchestral treatment of Armenian hymns.
The religious significance is at the foreground for the soprano, who began her singing life in her Armenian church.