Isabel Bayrakdarian burst onto the international opera scene after winning first prize in the 2000 Operalia competition founded by Spanish superstar, Placido Domingo. Since that time, she's been applauded in the world's major opera houses and concert halls for her roles by Mozart, Handel, Poulenc and William Bolcom. Fiercely proud of her Armenian heritage, she's also known for championing the works of Armenian composer, Gomidas.
Bayrakdarian was born in Lebanon and emigrated to Canada in her teens. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in biomedical engineering. But that same year, Bayrakdarian was also the winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. It would be the stage that Bayrakdarian gravitated towards. In addition to opera, she often appears on the concert stage in recital and with major orchestras all over North America and Europe.
Between 2004 and 2007, Bayrakdarian won four consecutive Juno Awards for Classical Album of the Year. Her singing has also appeared on movie soundtracks such as Atom Egoyan's Ararat and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Bayrakdarian found herself to be the subject of a film entitled A Long Journey Home that documents her first trip to her ancestral homeland of Armenia.
In addition to her singing career, Bayrakdarian teaches voice at the University of California in Santa Barbara. On this edition of This Is My Music, she shares the stories behind the music she loves.
This Is My Music is heard Saturdays on Radio 2 at 10:00 am.
Isabel Bayrakdarian shares her favourite music on This Is My Music