Ishrat Hyatt ( October 2010 )
In continuation of his policy to introduce the rich culture of Brazil to the residents of the capital and if possible, to people living in other parts of the country, Ambassador Alfredo Leoni hosted a performance by two of Brazil’s well known artistes, pianist Ivan Pires and baritone Victor Sgarbi.
The event — which was divided into two performances due to the lack of space in the venue — was held at the embassy of Brazil and was attended on Tuesday evening by members of the diplomatic community, who are aficionados of classical music. It was a small group — those who accepted and did not show up missed out on an enjoyable evening, not only as afar as the performance was concerned but also because of the warmth of Brazilian hospitality. As one diplomat put it before leaving, “Wasn’t that exquisite performance!”
Addressing the gathering the host thanked the artistes for accepting his invitation to perform in Islamabad as well as his deputy, Joao Belloc, who had arranged the whole affair in his absence. With a brief introduction of the artistes, he concluded by hoping his guests would enjoy the performance.
The programme was in two parts, with European music followed by Brazilian compositions and included excerpts from Robert Schumann’s ‘Liederkreis;’ Vaughn Williams ‘Songs of Travel;’ an introductory Brazilian piano solo, ‘Waltz of Sorrow’ by Hector Villa-Lobos; two numbers by Ernana Braga and another two by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the first person behind the conception of the ‘Bossa Nova.’
My favourite was the ancient Brazilian lullaby in a mixture of three languages — that of native Indians ‘Tupi-Guarani;’ that of the African slaves and Portuguese. Both artistes said they were pleasantly surprised after they arrived here to learn first hand that all the negative publicity given to Pakistan was just media hype — they found it easy to go around and every one they had met from all walks of life was friendly and hospitable. Conceding that it had taken their country a long time to reach its present status, they said Pakistan was a young country and would soon get over the problems it was facing. As we say, ‘in kay moo main ghee shukkar’ — in effect, may their words come true! Victors solo career began in the year 2000 when he was a student of classical singing at University Tom Jobim ( Sao Paulo — Brazil) performing the baritone role in the opera ‘Carmina Burana’ under the direction of maestro Parcval Modolo. The following year he joined the professional choir of the Sao Paulo symphony orchestra as a soloist, performing works by Mozart, Rossini, Haydn and Monteverdi among others. He has subsequently taken several roles in fully staged operas in and Brazil and the UK. His vocals have been compared to that of Jonathan Pryce’ by reviewer, Tremayne Potter while Barry Grantham thinks he has a ‘well placed baritone voice.’
Ivan Pires began studying piano at the age ten and acquired a Bachelors Degree in Piano from the School of Music of Arts of the State of Parana, Brazil. He has performed at several renowned theatres and concert halls in Brazil and has held recitals in France, Portugal, Italy and the UK.
In 2005 the ‘Year of Brazil in France’, he performed to great acclaim works by Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos at the ‘Casa do Brasil’ in Paris. He has recently made his first recording at the church of ‘St. Martin-in-the Fields’ in London where he now lives."