We opened our 2017 season with a feature performance by one of Canada’s most celebrated sopranos, Isabel Bayrakdarian. This special concert featured a superb selection of passionate Spanish love songs and tangos.
The Lebanese-born Canadian soprano has a surprising resume that includes a degree in biomedical engineering. In the same year that Isabel earned her degree from the University of Toronto, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She performed in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production of William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge. A year later, she took first prize at Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition. Her credits include playing Valencienne in San Francisco Opera’s Merry Widow, Teresa in the Met’s Benvenuto Cellini, Zerlina in Don Giovanni in New York, Houston, and Salzburg, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro in Los Angeles, and London, Pamina in The Magic Flute in Toronto and New York, Monteverdi’s Poppea in Barcelona, Handel’s Romilda (Serse) in Dresden, Janáček’s Vixen in New York, Florence, and appeared the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan.
Isabel performed Evenstar for the Grammy-winning Two Towers film, second in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She can also be heard on the soundtrack of Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, on the BBC-produced short film Holocaust, and in her Gemini-nominated film Long Journey Home, which documents her first visit to her ancestral homeland in Armenia. A trance music collaboration with the electronica band Delerium garnered Isabel yet another Grammy nomination.
As of 2018, Isabel is the winner of four consecutive Juno Awards for Best Classical Album, and her recording, Mother of Light, was nominated for another Juno.