No other way to start this but to express my hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and keeping safe. I hugely underestimated the difficulty of writing a newsletter in the COVID_19 era, however, after many attempts, I am glad to be in touch again and to have actual news to share with you! As I am sure you are all very well aware, life changed dramatically since March with live performances having had to stop across the globe. When the lockdown started in the UK I was in the middle of a UK tour with the Welsh National Opera, singing a dream-role Duchesse Hélène in Verdi’s Les Vêpres Siciliennes (Sicilian Vespers). Before the world stopped thankfully we have managed to have a small number of performances, which received wonderful reviews you can read below.
I am grateful and humbled to have been named as The Face to Watch in Opera 2020 by The Times, followed by my magazine cover debut for July/August issue of Opera Now. Dreams do come true!
A ray of sunshine was working with the ever so wonderful team of the Opera Holland Park. I was devastated by the cancellation of my role & company debut with them back in June, but immensely lucky to still call myself a part of the Opera Holland Park family. Special thanks go to the absolute star, the OHP director James Clutton for pulling off the only UK live performances of opera this summer. See the press section below.
In these uncertain times, I am thrilled to share with you the most fabulous news about the New Generation Festival going ahead in Florence and providing engagement and performance opportunities to hundreds of young international talent so badly hit by the pandemic. Be sure to check the details of the big announcement below. I hope you would be able to watch the performances either in person or online. Here is hoping to see you in person very soon!
The New Generation Festival and the Uffizi Galleries are presenting The ReGeneration Festival #ReGen, an unprecedented four-day programme of socially-distanced concerts and productions running from 26 to 29 August at the Boboli Gardens in Florence which will be offered to audiences entirely for free. ReGen is a festival of hope given by hundreds of rising new generation artists and creatives to demonstrate the restorative power of the Arts.
“What The New Generation Festival and The Uffizi Galleries are managing to achieve this year in the city of the Renaissance is a great symbol of courage in the face of adversity, defiance against the devastation wreaked by the global pandemic, and faith in the power of music, culture and beauty.”
– Sir Antonio Pappano
“It is inspiring to see a young company like The New Generation Festival reinvent itself in such challenging circumstances by staging an unprecedented and ambitious new project with The Uffizi Galleries in the heart of Florence. Embracing the limitations and safety measures that the situation currently demands, The ReGeneration Festival is a celebration of humanity’s moving capacity to innovate, to evolve and to give birth to new leading lights. I have always been a supporter of the young generation of artists and my dream is to convey my experience and knowledge of music to students in various masterclasses in future.”
– Angela Gheorghiu
Verdi: Les vêpres siciliennes (Hélène) / Welsh National Opera
“The cast’s one outstanding member was the Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, as the militant heroine Helene. Blessed with an alluring ruby-red timbre, she sang with a refinement of phrasing and musical imagination absent from her male colleagues…”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
“By far the most distinguished was the Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, as a striking, raven-haired Hélène… she is a classy artist…” Hugh Canning, The Times
“…she was the determined powerhouse, vocally and dramatically, of the breathtaking final scenes.” Benjamin Poore, Opera Wire
“As the Duchess Hélène, Anush Hovhannisyan impresses with her formidable technical poise…the young soprano produced ravishing sounds in the moments of sweetness, of a quality that could be described as seraphic, and yet was full of bite and passion in the climactic scene.” Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online
“Anush Hovhannisyan is a fluent Hélène…” Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk
“Anush Hovhannisyan is a powerful Hélène ….” Chiara Strazzulla, Arts Scene in Wales
“The voice is full of colour, the technique brilliant and she looks striking.” Colin Davison, British Theatre Guide
“Hélène is the story’s one star, and Anush Hovhannisyan seizes the opportunities Verdi gives her with both hands. The audience loved her.” Lucien Jenkins, The Critics’ Circle
“She was impressively affecting in her duets with Henri, and her bolero (‘Merci, jeunes amis’) in Act V was utterly charming.” Glyn Pursglove, Seen and Heard International