Peterborough Singers’ Yuletide Cheer concert to feature world-famous soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian

For music lovers in Peterborough, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the magic of the Peterborough Singers’ annual Christmas concert. But this year the Singers have added a new ingredient to their yuletide potion, as they welcome to the stage world-famous Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.

Also back by popular demand will be the Venabrass Quintet, a group of virtuosic musicians all from the same family.

Bayrakdarian, who is married to Canadian composer-pianist Serouj Kradjian, is probably best known to the wider public for her hauntingly pure vocals on the song “Evenstar” on the soundtrack for The Two Towers, the second film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But her impressive operatic résumé includes Juno and Grammy-award-winning recordings, as well as appearances on the stages of many of the most venerable opera houses in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Opéra National de Paris, and many others.

“For the Singers to be able to welcome Isabel to Peterborough truly is a great honour, and a one-time event that local fans of classical music won’t want to miss,” said Peterborough Singers artistic director Syd Birrell.

At the Singers’ Yuletide Cheer concert on November 28, Bayrakdarian will sing crowd favourites such as “Ave Maria,” “Gesù Bambino,” and “O Holy Night.” However, Birrell says the moment he is most looking forward to is when she debuts a new composition commissioned by the Peterborough Singers and written by her composer-husband.

“This collaboration between the Singers, Isabel, and Serouj is one that has long been in the works,” said Birrell, “and it is so thrilling to see it finally coming to fruition in such a satisfying way. One of our top priorities at the Singers has always been to support Canadian artists and Canadian music. Who better to work with than this phenomenal Canadian musical ‘power couple’?”

Kradjian’s composition, “Ode to Isabel,” is a husband’s tender, sometimes humorous, and always intimate tribute, in four parts, to Isabel’s challenging and inspiring journey from Lebanon to Canada, through engineering school, and then on to success in classical music.

As always, the Yuletide Concert will offer a mix of sublime choral arrangements of Christmas carols, a Christmas oratorio, sing-a-long favourites, and virtuosic performances by an amazing roster of supporting musicians.

“Audience members often tell me they get chills at our Christmas concerts, as our 100-voice choir performs these spiritually meaningful songs together with talented accompanists,” said Birrell. “But with Isabel and Serouj joining us this year, I know that this Yuletide Cheer concert is going to be one for the history books. Come, sing along with us, or simply sit back and bask in the glorious melodies as the Peterborough Singers inaugurate this Christmas season.”

This year the Singers and Isabel will be anchored by renowned organist Ian Sadler.