Armenian Poetry in Celebration (Cambridge, Mass.)

JULY 22, 2012 * ARMENIAN POETRY IN CELEBRATION. Two famous Armenian opera stars, Victoria Avetisyan and Yeghishe Manucharyan, will join poet Diana Der-Hovanessian at the Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge, Mass., to celebrate the publication of her 25th book of poetry, Armenian Poetry of Our Time, from the Press at California State University. Many of the poems will be sung and then read in English by Der-Hovanessian and several poets from the New England Poetry Club. Singing many of the poems will be two of the most sought after soloists in this country, tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan and mezzo soprano Victoria Avetisyan who won the Young Artist Award at her Kennedy Center debut. Both artists were born in Yerevan, Armenia. Avetisyan graduated with a master’s degree in vocal performance from Komitas State University and began her career at the National Opera. She made her American debut with the Boston Lyric Opera, where she appears frequently. Manucharyan made his debut at Carnegie Hall followed by joining the Metropolitan Opera Company. New York’s NewsDay has praised the “purity, power and flexibility of his voice”. He graduated from the Tchaikovsky Central Music School and Komitas State Conservatory of Music. In a review of Der-Hovanessian’s first volume of translations in 1980, The London Times Literary Supplement called her “a brilliant poet who has opened up the book of her people to the English speaking world.” She has gone on to translate 13 other books of Armenian poetry, including The Other Voice, poems by Armenian women, and volumes by Yeghishe Charents, Sayat Nova, Gevorg Emin, Vahan Tekeyan, and Vahan Derian. For her own poetry she has won the Paterson Prize and awards from American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, NEA, PSA, and Columbia University. During the post-earthquake years she and singer/actor Michael Kermoyan, and later tenor Vahan Khanzadian toured universities with a musical play—The Secret Of Survival—she wrote for earthquake relief. The reading and concert begins at 4 p.m. at 105 Brattle St. in Cambridge, Mass. The Friends of Longfellow and New England Poetry Club are making the program possible. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book signing.

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