other societies, Armenians enjoy a good scandal
and are moved and made angry by the troubles of
others. And it is that characteristic that makes
a rich audience for TV serials or "soap operas"
as they are known in the West.
For some time, shortly after independence weekly
programs such as "Dallas" and "Santa
Barbara" enthralled local viewers. But, in
1998, when the Brazilian serial "Slave Izaura"
started broadcast here, Armenians got their chance
to have daily doses of vicarious scandal.
When "Slave Izaura" was on air one
could hardly met people on the streets, as they
hurried to enjoy another part of the serial. During
that period many Izauras were born in Armenia
and other countries of the former Soviet Union,
and other Brazilian names became very common.
In the course of time the noise made by serials
diminished, but many people till now live their
lives along with the "Juan Carloses"
and "Maria Rosas".
But there has always been a hindrance for Armenian
"soap" fans. Actors in Brazil don't
speak Armenian. And, according to law, programs
broadcast on Armenian channels must be in the
And so the Juan Carloses and Maria Rosas need
They get them from actors such as Hamlet Hambardzumyan
and Ruzanna Gasparyan from the Hakob Paronyan
all 16 TV companies existing in Armenia broadcast
different Brazilian or Mexican serials, but only
two of them have dubbing (in Armenian instead
of Russian): one is "Madalena's Quiet Passions"
broadcast by Public TV and "Yago- Dark Passions"
broadcast by Shant TV Company.
Neither, however is done in a professional studio
"I am sure that 'Madalena's Quiet Passions'
broadcast by Public Television is more interesting
than 'Family Ties' broadcast by First Russian
Channel," says 64-year old serial fan Rita
Mirakyan. "However, I cannot force myself
to watch the serial with Armenian voiceover because
voices sound terrible, the quality is very poor.
It would be better to leave Russian dubbing."
Today almost all the Russian TV companies have
their own companies producing around 10 serials
a year with participation of Russian movie stars
such as Alexander Abdulov, Maria Mironova, Sergey
Bondarchuk, and others.
But the Armenian TV companies don't have enough
money to produce their own serials, that's why
they broadcast Brazilian ones, which they record
from several private Russian channels.
So the voices that start out in Portuguese or
Spanish become Russian, then Armenian. It is little
wonder if the quality suffers.
Public television and "Shant" private
television have established dubbing studios which
have sound-proofing walls and adequate equipment,
but they don't have work experience or the desire
to maintain high quality. The companies figure
there is no need to spend money on producing unique
shows if the demand is for something like what
is offered by the Brazilian programs, even if
the language is poor.
"We don't have possibility to dub all the
movies, besides people will not watch any Hollywood
film with Armenian voiceover. But it is relatively
easy to dub serials," says Artyom Ghazaryan,
program director of the Shant TV company.
According to the head of Movie Department on
the Public television Ruzanna Avetisyan 90 percent
of movies and cartoons being broadcasted by the
Public Television are already in Armenian. Next
year they will provide 100 percent Armenian language
air as it is required by government regulations.
is a matter of time, we have just started dubbing,
and our studio is new. I think, several years
later we will produce more qualitative voiceovers,"
But professional dubbing isn't new in Armenia.
Beginning in 1969 Studio Yerevan was doing voiceovers
for Russian programming that, some said, made
the programs more enjoyable than when heard in
their original language. Well-known actors did
voiceovers for movies and cartoons.
"We have a scoring studio with half-century
experience, but some people prefer to create new
scoring studios because of subjective, personal
reasons and provide audience with low quality
and wrongly translated Armenian dubbing,"
says that studio's director Tigran Khzmalyan.
Doing voiceovers, says veteran actress Zhanna
Amirjanyan "is more difficult when compared
to acting on the stage."
The actress says it is shameful to let the experience
of the professional studio go to waste and have
poor quality broadcasts as the result.
Still, the characters taking shape in Brazil
and given Armenian voices, continue to be popular
daily parts of Armenian life, proving perhaps
that voyeurism or vicarious living has its own