Local classical concert highlighted an international flair
On Nov. 20, I had a pleasure of attending a classical concert for the New Russia Cultural Center by two transplants to the Capital Region, both from the former Soviet Union.
In a beautiful setting at the Woman’s Club of Albany, soprano Irina Petrik and pianist Rouben Aivazian presented a wide selection of classical music that thrilled the audience with its virtuosity and variety. Selections by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov led the evening, followed by a selection of Russian and Ukrainian traditional songs.
Ms. Petrik, born and raised in Ukraine’s capital, the city of Kiev, studied both at a historic Gliere College of Music and later at the San Francisco Conservatory. Her spectacular, rich voice filled the auditorium with sweet sounds, matched by her genuine facial expressions and infectious acting. The ultimate entertainer, she was equally convincing as the suffering Lisa, the endearing Snow Maiden, the fierce Ukrainian village girl or the passionate gypsy songstress. Her dazzling soprano soared through the romantic writing, as her tone radiated ripeness and beauty. She wore traditional native costumes to lend authenticity to the selections.
Mr. Aivazian, who earned his Ph.D .from the Moscow Conservatory, was a professor of classical music and laureate of Vianna da Motta international competition. As a soloist for Lenconcert, one of the most influential and powerful state concert companies in the U.S.S.R., he had a chance to perform with symphony orchestras in many former Soviet republics, including Lithuania, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova.
His technique was flawless, and proved the depths of his talent. In his solo, Rouben took us on an amazing journey; his unique style seemed to have captivated everyone in the room and his presentation was full of rare elegance and grace. Both performers were a match made in heaven, as they performed in a true harmony as if sharing one heart. Committed to the music with undeniable passion, strong and intuitive, they made for a delightful and memorable experience.
The concert audience reacted to each song with thunderous applause, and they left the room after the concert with great smiles of appreciation. It is not often that a Capital Region audience is treated to local musicians with such deep international talent and training, who can make classical music so accessible.
This concert was made possible due to the efforts of Tatiana Lichtenwalter, founder and president of New Russia Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization hosting an upcoming Russian Winter Festival 2011. Tatiana’s enthusiasm and true dedication to providing the local community with events of such caliber deserves much recognition. As an American, I was overjoyed to witness this presentation and will look forward to attending more events offered by the New Russia Cultural Center and learning more about our local community.
Kathleen A. Tallmadge