MONTREAL — After a Canadian tour last fall in Irina Brook’s “Waiting for the Dream,” actor and director Gerald Papasian is back in Montreal for two special events bringing new interpretations of Armenian favorites. A multi-disciplinary artist, Papasian’s passion is to adapt, restage and translate the great treasures of the Armenian repertoire.
On Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m., at the Eglise Anglicane Saint-Georges, located at 1101 rue Stanley, he will present the French vocal group Quator Arevadzaghig (“sunflower”) specializing in Armenian music under the musical direction of Vincent Bonzom. There will be a cappella sacred music, as well as folkloric songs and excerpts from famous operettas such as “Gariné,” which Papasian adapted last year to great critical acclaim in Paris and Marseille. The Quator (a baritone, tenor and two sopranos) discovered Armenian music thanks to Papasian and were so taken by its beauty that they decided to make it their specialty. The evening is supported by the conductor Raffi Armenian and Minister of Culture Christine St. Pierre.
Papasian has helped revive several works by Armenian composer Dikran Tchouhadjian. He restored the original “Arshak II,” which premiered at the San Francisco Opera, and staged “Anoush” at the Detroit Opera House in 1981 and in 2001.
Later in May, he will be playing the lead role in the “Eastern Dentist,” a satirical comedy by Hagop Baronian, an Armenian burlesque favorite that has been produced countless times for the stage, cinema and television. Papasian’s French adaptation was played in major Parisian theaters, but this time it will be in Armenian with French subtitles. Joining him will be actress Nora Armani, who was his partner on stage in Montreal at the Centaur Theatre in 1988 for their hit show, “Sojourn at Ararat,” that the pair reprised in 2010 at the Public Theater in New York.
A founding member of the Irina Brook Company, Papasian recently performed in “Waiting for the Dream” in Montreal at Usine C, as well as in New York’s La Mama Theater. The president of Armenia recently awarded him the Movses Khorenatsi medal, the country’s highest cultural and artistic honor.