By Michelle Ekizian
Whether the recent grapevine gossip floating around in the Armenian press of the possible dismissal of conductor Constantine Orbelian from his dual post as artistic director and general manager of Yerevan’s Opera House because of skeptical and archaic Soviet era remnant protocols is of rumor mill, malice or ignorance, now is the time for people to come together in support of Orbelian and speak the truth. He does not need to be defended as his history at the Opera House says it all.
A breath of springtime and hope for the institution, Orbelian developed in his opening tenure a new and exciting groundbreaking artistic profile for the Armenian National Opera Ballet Theatre (ANOBT). He has dealt with administration glitches burdened with the stagnant residue of a bygone Soviet era of pro-forma arts management, and is in the process of bringing the Opera House and its administrative work ethic and MO up to date for the 21st century.
The orchestra’s learning curve is also quickening and streamlining, and will soon compare with the disciplined focus of the top international opera houses.
Last year Orbelian introduced the musicians to the music of Giuseppe Verdi—scores, which were not on their somewhat stagnant “playlist” (of old and limited clichéd fare) — and then arranged for them to go on tour with new productions featuring cutting edge design and staging components in the United Arab Emirates (a first in the company’s entire history).
Aside from introducing new repertoire — including numerous classical music iconic blockbusters — a new work ethic, new staging and design concepts, and touring possibilities in the past three years, Orbelian introduced to the company top mainstream international classical music industry pedagogues, acclaimed soloists, stage directors, set designers and administrators. These are collaborations that can help place the Opera House and its Armenian Opera Ballet Theatre on the map among tourism and cultural offerings amidst major music presenters across the world.