A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to hear Isabel Bayrakdarian, a brilliant, young soprano from Canada, sing during a performance of Mahler’s 4th Symphony. I was enchanted by her voice, which, in my entirely amateur and untutored estimation, is one of the finest of our time. Then, by chance, my Armenian professor showed us the DVD of the CBC documentary about Ms. Bayrakdarian on the occasion of her first visit to Armenia, and soon I was caught up in Bayrakdarian fever. As I quickly discovered, she has a number of impressive and diverse albums to her credit, and all are worth a listen whether your interests are in opera, Armenian church music or traditional folk melodies.

In some minor notes related to her, she is the vocalist on the soundtracks of both Ararat and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, so both Armenophiles and Tolkien fans can take an interest in her magnificent singing.