By Alin K. Gregorian
VIENNA, Austria — Hasmik Papian, as the saying goes, has arrived. She is a darling of the European and American top opera houses, as well as a veteran solo performer. In fact, she will next perform in Boston at the Armenian Night at the Pops on June 25. In a recent interview from her home here, lyric soprano Papian spoke about her spectacular rise in the world of opera.
Papian was born and raised in Yerevan, and almost did not become a singer; she was studying the violin. “The decision [to become a soprano] came very late,” she explained. “I always knew I had a voice, but I never thought I would become a professional singer. My friends, for whom I was singing popular songs at parties, they said if I can touch so many people, why should I not try to become a professional singer?”
The instructors for whom she auditioned, clearly agreed. “I started with a jog” rather than small steps. “I was already a musician, so it was easy to sing. It was so natural.”
Within three years, she was on the world stage. Her voice, she said, had already been honed by her frequent singing along to the pieces she was playing, as per the instruction of her violin teacher. In addition, she diligently read about singing technique.
“I won four international competitions and after the first one, the son of the great tenor, Mario Del Monaco, Giovanni, who was the head of Opera Bonn, [in Germany] heard me sing. Bonn, at that time, was the capital of Germany. If you sing well [ in a major city like that] it goes around quickly,” Papian said. She got a contract and started singing there.