A set of circumstances had us attending Opera, Opera, another in a series of presentations this year of works by Saroyan. I won’t bother giving a critique here, just to say that the show had nothing to do with Saroyan, didn’t have the feel of something written by him, and, as someone sitting next to us said before he left (before the end), “This is a big zero.” My only thought is that it’s amazing that the actors and others involved aren’t embarrassed about what they produced.
That aside, our reason for being there in the first place was another case of the “lifting” of one of Hasmik’s songs, this one being “Taroni Oror” from her Armenian Lullabies album. An acquaintance had told us about hearing the song towards the end of the presentation, after which Hasmik called the music director and the director/producer, asking why they had done such a thing. After praising Hasmik’s singing, we were offered tickets to attend one of the performances, with promises to never use another of her songs without permission.
Tonight’s was the third Yerevan theater (besides Sos Sargsyan’s Hamazgayin Theater and Karen Gevorgyan’s presentation of Gigor) to use one of Hasmik’s, Shoghaken’s, or Ensemble Karot’s music without bothering to ask permission, not to mention Shant Television, who just had the second of their children’s music competitions for which they used the entire Hayrik Mouradian Children’s Folk Song and Dance Ensemble CD, again without permission.
An interesting note about the second show is that the children who sang did a far better job (in spite of musical arrangements that were closer to Egyptian than Armenian) than their older counterparts, winners and runner-ups in last year’s “Folk Singer” competition, one of Shant Television’s several televised music competitions.