Baylor Opera Director Invited To Conduct In Armenia

  • News Photo 1876
  • News Photo 1877
    Richard Aslanian
April 6, 2004

by Richard Veit

Richard Aslanian, director of opera at Baylor University and artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Waco, has been invited to Armenia as the first American to guest conduct at the Armenian National Opera, one of the leading opera houses of the former Soviet republic.

With the assistance of the International Program at Baylor, Aslanian will travel to Armenia in May to conduct Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata, which he directed for the Waco Lyric Opera last September. He will be accompanied by his wife, Judith, who will sing in the production.

Aslanian will conduct at Armenia's Alexander Spendiarian Opera and Ballet Theater, one of the principal features of Freedom Square, which is located in the center of the capital city of Yerevan. Opened in 1933, the theater building's design is actually based on the seventh century Cathedral at Zvarnotz.

The trip also has personal significance for Aslanian, as he makes his first visit to the home country of his father and grandparents. The families were forced to leave their homeland during the early 20th century to escape the Turkish massacres.

In addition to taking part in the cultural activities of the country, the Aslanians will visit historic sites, such as Mount Ararat (location of Noah's Ark) and the Cathedral of St. Gregory, a church built in the fourth century after Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion in A.D. 301.

For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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