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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, July 2017

The performances are excellent. I can’t speak to Bayrakdarian’s operatic performances, but here she displays a slim, attractively focused tone, with some welcome darkness in the chest. The top is just occasionally a bit metallic, but the production is excellent overall. She has the agility and breath support to manage the extended vocalise of some passages with ease. Bayrakdarian enunciates clearly… The other performers are uniformly first-rate, as is the engineering. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, March 2017

Isabel Bayrakdarian is the key to this for her voice is an extraordinary instrument that is crystal clear with pinsharp diction and I say this despite the fact that I know no Armenian once I located the place in the text, …Her accompanying singers, whether the vocal group Coro Vox Aeterna, her two sisters or the other two sopranos, give great support while the cellist, Ani Aznavoorian, also of Armenian origin, has a wonderfully rich tone which so perfectly complements the voices and her brother provides percussive support using instruments that are traditionally used in Armenian church services adds yet another layer to the proceedings when called for. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Reynolds
American Record Guide, March 2017

Has Isabel Bayrakdarian ever made a boring disc? The soprano and her producers always seem to create programs with fascinating themes and rarely touch on conventional fare.

Bayrakdarian’s singing is lovely. None of these hymns tax her considerable vocal resources. She sounds completely at home. Cellist Ani Aznavoorian supplies drama and instrumental beauty in her accompaniments. The Vox Aeterna Chorus, led by Anna Hamre, supports Bayrakdarian’s melismas and chants most effectively. The alto section has an especially rich, sensual tone.

This entire release is presented and performed with class and refinement. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Gilks
Opera Canada, February 2017

The contrast with Bayrakdarian’s earlier album of Armenian sacred music is very interesting. The voice is no longer that of a young Handel and Mozart specialist. It is much more mature and darker, and the upper register no longer has its former pristine clarity. In some ways, though, it is more characterful and interesting. This is emphasized by the singing style, which is much more overtly emotional. There’s also much more Middle Eastern influence, with more melisma and a tendency to fractionally drop off the pitch at the end of a phrase. …The blend with the cello accompaniment is quite felicitous. Curiously, the choir, a group of Californian singers, perform more in the clean, pure tonal style of Western church music. © 2017 Opera Canada



Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch | beyondcriticism.com, December 2016

Isabel Bayrakdarian’s album Mother of Light: Armenian hymns and chants in praise of Mary (Delos) returned us to a realm of spirit. We heard two selections, both radiant: “Khngi Dzarin” (The Frankincense Tree) and “Zandjareli Looso Mayr” (Mother of Light). This is music the polished Armenian-Canadian soprano came to know in church services even before her mother, who led the choir, thought she was old enough to join. There’s no missing the personal connection. © 2016 Matthew Gurewitsch | beyondcriticism.com



Robert Tomas
The WholeNote, November 2016

The enchanting, exotic music of Armenia is the perfect foil for Ms. Bayrakdarian’s “grown-up” voice. It’s lush, languid, opulent and absolutely remarkable. The arrangements for cello and voice shock with their purity of melodic line and meditative quality already built in. This may very well be an album to obsess about. In the space of just a week, I must have listened to it at least ten times. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review





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