Last night we went out to hear Isabel Bayrakdarian sing; I’ve written here before of how Ms B. nearly killed me, and while the concert wasn’t life-threatening, it was really very good and I think this is A Singer To Watch. I have a picture to prove it, plus a Lord of the Rings connection.
Along with singing beautifully, Isabel has decent website, is real easy on the eyes, dresses well, and acts her way through the songs. Her accompanist Serouj Kradjian plays beautifully; the two gay fellows sitting behind us seemed to be insiders and, one said, singer and accompanist were recently engaged; they hold hands walking offstage after their bow, which is awfully sweet.
The selection of music was maybe a little underwhelming. There was a overly busy piece from Johann Hasse (I never heard of him either), then the first-half highlight, Vivaldi’s Sposa Son Disprezzata from his opera Il Bajazet, not exactly a regular on the hit parade but just a super song, featuring Isabel’s remarkable legato, for my money the most fetching of her voice’s many virtues.
Then there was a bunch of Mozart, none of the greatest hits but all cheerful and even second-rate Mozart is worth listening to. Finally, there were some songs by Xavier Montsalvatge, a Cuban who died in 2002, which were OK and had bewitching modern piano accompaniments.
The second half was all Rossini, it seems Isabel is doing a lot of that these days. My (hefty) record collection includes not a single piece of Rossini, and this recital isn’t going to change that, but I must say it touched all the soprano-recital bases; what sticks in my mind is the melting sweetness on Bolero: L’Invito, and the astounding high arc of song in the closing lines of Quant’e Grato All’alma Mia (from Elizabetta, Regina d’Inghlaterra), near the top of the soprano range, at a volume where the chandeliers were maybe in danger but with no loss of tonal purity, all with an ecstatic, beaming, thousand-watt smile.
Like I said, not many of the tunes were keepers, but I’ll go back anyhow and see Isabel any time I get a chance; imagine what she could do with the music her voice deserves?
Lord of the Rings · Apparently she’s on The Two Towers soundtrack. No, I don’t know where.