Members of the royal family, dignitaries, world renowned political, cultural and civic leaders, and senior executives of global corporations attended this unique charity event. Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sargsian, and Mayor of Yerevan, Karen Karapetian were among the guests of honour.
“It gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to welcome you all to this very special occasion at Buckingham Palace,” said the Prince of Wales in his remarks and expressed his thanks to all the donors of ‘Yerevan My Love’ and Dumfries House.
The evening started with a reception, following by a unique concert especially put together on this occasion. World renowned soprano Renée Fleming and violin virtuoso and conductor Maxim Vengerov, took part in the programme, along with the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) and the Bach Choir. In addition to Handel, the choir sang most moving pieces from the Armenian liturgy, Surb, Surb and Hayr Mer by Makar Ekmalian. As a tribute to ‘Yerevan My Love’, Vengerov played Komitas’s Krung for the first time in his musical career, captivating the emotions of the audience. Renée Fleming enthralled the audience not only with her superb and mesmerizing voice, but also with her poignant remarks. A banquet followed in the magnificent Picture Gallery of the Palace.
‘Yerevan My Love’ is a heritage-led regeneration project dedicated to preserving architecturally significant buildings in Yerevan and putting them to use to improve the life experience of disabled children, young people and disadvantaged families. Following the successful fundraising in 2010, three buildings in the vicinity of St. Hovhanes Church in the Kond neighbourhood of Yerevan are being built and reconstructed. Three additional architecturally significant buildings will be reconstructed in the Old Yerevan neighbourhood as part of the second phase of ‘Yerevan My Love project,’ supported by the fundraising this year.
In his eloquent remarks, Armen Sarkissian highlighted the role of every individual in the preservation of culture and heritage and the universality of culture. He said, “It is a privilege for me to thank you each and every one of you for your contributions, for your support and, most important, for sharing a belief that culture and heritage are part of our soul and we have to pass it on to the next generation, to our children.”
The Prince of Wales underlined that “the evening is also an occasion to strengthen the strong ties and friendship between Armenia and the United Kingdom. He said, “I have long admired Armenia as the oldest Christian nation in the world, with its unique architectural heritage. It is so heartening that the ‘Yerevan My Love’ project is preserving and continuing traditional Armenian architecture and craftsmanship.”
Dumfries House is a unique house in South-West Scotland which had retained much of the furniture commissioned for it from Thomas Chippendale. A few years ago The Prince of Wales forestall the separate sales of the House and its contents to private bidders. He has since assured that the House and its unique collection of furniture are preserved for the British nation and future generations.
Armen Sarkissian thanked His Royal Highness for his visionary leadership and foresight in many critical issues facing not only Britain but also the entire globe. “We thank him for his full support and cooperation in making this night a very special occasion,” said Sarkissian. He pointed out that “the international array of participation is a wonderful example of global cooperation in charity and heritage preservation.”