The Adele & Haig Der Manuelian Galleries of the Armenian Museum of America were filled to capacity this past Sunday afternoon for the premiere performance of The Bostonians in a concert titled "Popular Songs by Armenian Composers." The performance was the second in a series jointly sponsored by the Armenian Museum, the Composer's Union of Armenia and the Amaras Art Alliance, and funded by the Dadourian Foundation.
The standing-room-only audience was treated to the vocal talents of soprano, Nouné Karapetian; mezzo-soprano, Roselin Osser; tenor, Michael Calmés; and baritone, Philip Lima, along with dazzling accompaniment on piano by William Merrill.
The wide variety of music moved from perfectly synchronous quartets to a number of solos from each artist, with highlights including a heartfelt rendition of Im Yerevan (Vagharshag Kotoyan) from Calmés, along with more humorous pieces like Hor-Hor's Cuplets (Tigran Chukhadjian) from Lima, and a playful duet of Yot Kuyrer (Aram Satunts) from Karapetian and Osser.
Each song, performed in Armenian, was made even more impressive as, with the exception of Karapetian, who is of Armenian descent, none of the other artits speak the language. Osser, Calmés and Lima all learned the texts of the pieces phonetically in order to sing their respective roles so convincingly in Armenian, and they were all awarded an honorary "-ian" in their names at the conclusion of the performance by Armenian Museum Director, Berj Chekijian. The audience participated enthusiastically in the encore song, Kenats Yerg (Aram Meranglooyan), which was met by a resounding standing ovation. Audience members had the opportunity to meet with the performers at a reception following the concert.
Konstantin Petrossian, co-chairman of the Foreign Department of the Composer's Union of Armenia, a composer, pianist and conductor, served as the artistic director for the performance.