Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan dominated the InClassica Dubai International Music Festival with an assured performance of Aram Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, accompanied by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sergey Smbatyan in Dubai Opera.
Khachatryan plays with a bright warm tone, a fast vibrato and contained physical movement, creating a solid and authoritative presence on stage.
This style really delivered during the lyrical sections of the slow second movement where the violinist spun gold in a deeply personal heartfelt evocation. In especially quiet sections towards the end of the movement the hall was still.
The concluding movement saw colourful interplay between the virtuosic solo line and woodwind and accompanying pizzicato cellos.
Dubai Opera with a walnut wood interior is in some respects an unforgiving acoustic for a symphony orchestra to play in, especially one adhering to distancing and one player per stand. With one line of cellos necessarily positioned outside of the proscenium arch some of the power in the pizzicato notes was lost in the gentle but insistent syncopation in the first and second movements.
Where the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra undobutedly thrive is there string section in loud tuttis, and here the warmth of the Dubai Opera interior really helped support a rich string sound, especially during the first movement of the concerto.
Sergey Khachatryan encored with 10th century Armenian music – a sweet melismatic piece that suspended time. A capitivating musician who communicates his passion and sincerity with beguiling immediacy.