After a 15-year absence from Yerevan stage, People’s Artist of Armenia Violet Gevorgyan returned last week to her signature role as Aghun in Hrant Matevosyan’s “Our Corner of the Big World”.
Fifteen years later the actress on her own stage, in her own country.
Since the play was first staged in 1980, Gevorgyan has played the role some 700 times. Fifteen years from her last performance here, she says she hasn’t forgotten a word or a gesture.
Theater critic and arts professor Henric Hovhannisyan once said Gevorgyan’s performance “brought such a star down from the sky that this astounded critic hasn't and will never see.”
On the stage of the Theater of Young Audience she again brought down that star this time even brighter and more colorful, welcomed by rousing applause.
“I am extremely touched; I’m so touched that it's difficult to play. It's a cruel challenge to be away for so many years from your own stage, your own country, your own audience,” Gevorgyan said.
Gevorgyan gave three nights of performance before returning to her home in the United States. She moved there in 1990, amid various speculations over why she left Armenia.
Actor Levon Tukhikyan said the honored actress “simply escaped from here because she was terribly insulted, they wouldn't give her any roles because of human envy.”
The 60-year old actress neither clarified that bitter page of her life then nor now.
“I left to return, and understand how much I love this soil and water,” she said.
After starting her career at age 24, Gevorgyan played more than 20 roles in the Hrachya Ghaplanyan Drama Theater. Her first starring spot was the lead in “The Diary of Anne Frank”. But it was her bittersweet character Aghun with whom Gevorgyan would become most identified.
“Violet appeared like a bright star and kept on amazing,” said People’s Artist Sos Sargsyan. The actor says he’s seen many of Gevorgyan’s performances as Aghun “and I can say sincerely that intonations of Violet's voice are still in my head.”
Violet Gevorgyan and the brother of Hrant Matevosyan, Hrachya Matevosyan.
The actress was invited by the Tekeyan Cultural Union and the performance was staged in Tekeyan Company headed by State Prize Winner of Republic of Armenia Artashes Hovhannisyan. After Violet Gevorgyan leaves her role will be taken over by actress Hasmik Aslanyan.
Aslanyan says it's hard to play a role in which the audience has already identified Gevorgyan as her hero Aghun.
“I know that when watching me play I shall always be compared with the perfect performances of Violet,” says Aslanyan.
Director Artashes Hovhannisyan recalls the 1980s with nostalgia, when everyone was speaking about the “Autumn Sun” (as the performance is known) and today he confesses that he was very concerned about the rebirth of the performance.
“I'm not exaggerating but I've spent several sleepless nights thinking how it will be accepted today after the stunning success it had once,” says Hovhannisyan.
According to theatre critic Varsik Grigoryan the returning of “Autumn Sun” and Violet Gevorgyan proves that high art has a mysterious power of rebirth.
“I have seen many actors but I haven't seen such performing,” Grigoryan says. “My words are not enough to express how skilled she is.”