On 23 March the prominent opera soloist Gegam Grigorian (1951 01 29 - 2016 03 23) passed away. The tenor, whose talent shone in most important theatres of the world, was also a soloist with the LNOBT from 1980 to 1988.
Renowned tenor Gegam Grigorian was born in Yerevan, Armenia. He started studying violin at the music school at the age of six. At the age of 18, pursuing his further musical education, he entered Music College, the Department of Choral Conducting. A year later he simultaneously started studying at the Vocal Department with distinguished tenor Sergey Danielian (People’s Artist of Armenia). In 1972 Gegam Grigorian entered the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan and continued his studies under supervision of Sergey Danielian.
In 1970s, already being a popular singer in the Soviet Union, Gegam Grigorian was performing regularly at the Bolshoi theatre and many other Soviet theatres. In 1978 he participated in the singers’competition at the Bolshoi Theatre for studying at the “La Scala’s Scuola di Perfizionamento Artistico”. He was among the 4 lucky signers who were selected. During his studies in Italy he performed in various concerts organized by “La Scala” and the embassy of the USSR. Soon he made his debut at the “La Scala” performing Pinkerton in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. After this performance he signed contract with “La Scala” to sing in operas “Boris Godunov” and “Tosca”.
In 1980 Virgilijus Noreika invited him to work at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater. In Vilnius he worked with a great conductor Jonas Aleksa, preparing several operas such as “Eugene Onegin”, “Don Carlo”, “Boris Godunov”, “La Traviata”, “Madama Butterfly”, “Rigoletto”, etc.
In 1989 conductor Valery Gergiev invited Gegam Grigorian to sing at the Mariinsky Theatre. In Mariinsky he had a great success performing Herman in Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”, Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”, Pierre Bezukhov in Prokofiev’s “War and Peace”, Don Carlo in Verdi’s “Don Carlo”, Alfredo in Verdi’s “La Traviat”a.
He started his international career with his debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 1990, performing Gennaro in Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia”. He made his debut at the Covent Garden in 1993 performing Lensky in “Eugene Onegin” and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995 performing Herman in “The Queen of Spades”. He performed in major opera houses and concert halls: Covent Garden (“Mazeppa”, “Eugene Onegin”), Metropolitan (“Queen of Spades”, “Aida”, “War and Peace”, “Prince Igor”, “Tosca’, “Cavalleria Rusticana”, “Un Ballo in Maschera”), Teatro Alla Scala (“Madama Butterfly”, “La Forza Del Destino”, “Boris Godunov”, “Khovanshchina”, “The Queen of Spades”, “War and Peace”) Teatro Colón (“Fedora”, “I Pagliacci”, “Il Tabarro”), Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (“Norma”, “Aida” etc.), Berlin’s Konzerthaus (“Prince Igor”) etc. He performed in New York, Washington, Tokyo, Paris, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Monte Carlo, Genoa, and Florence etc.
In 2000 Gegam Grigorian was invited to hold the post of the Artistic Director of the A. Spendiaryan National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. For almost seven years he served as the Artistic Director of the A. Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet Theatre. He had directed several operas of Armenian composers such as: “Anush”, “Arshak the Second”, “Davit Bek”, “La Traviata”, etc.
For the last ten years Gegam Grigorian devoted himself to educating and teaching students and young opera singers. His daughter Asmik Grigorian, who is currently a successful opera singer in Europe, studied with him. Gegam Grigorian was Meritorious Artist of the Republic of Lithuania and People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia. He was also awarded with a first degree Medal “For Services to Motherland”.