Thursday, August 5, 2010

Today Armenians said farewell to their beloved friend, opera singer Arax Davtian. At the Komitas Chamber Hall, hundreds gathered to pay final respect to Arax as her voice resonated in the hall, with recordings of Schubert, Verdi, Komitas (“Havoun, Havoun”), sharakans, and Armenian lullabies being played. Pianist Svetlana Navasartian played classical pieces in memory of her cousin.

I remembered Arax telling Hasmik she regretted not learning Armenian folk songs, and wanted to include some in future repertoires. She recorded and sang Ganachian’s arrangement of “Koon Yeghir Balas” and, later, “Agna Oror,” which Komitas had transcribed. Both recordings were miraculous, as was "Havoun, Havoun."

Arax sang on the most famous stages of the world, with the world’s most famous orchestras and conductors, but never forgot her homeland, and lived in a simple apartment with her sister. Arax was loved by the people because she was one of the people. She spoke her mind. She had problems with the current government in Armenia, and sided with the Opposition, hoping things could change for the better.

Arax was an honest person, and a good friend. She was the best living Armenian opera singer. Today, we bade her farewell.

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