Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and Mrs. Anna Hakobyan attended the solemn opening ceremony of the statue-memorial of the famous conductor, composer Ohan Durian in Freedom Square, in the area adjacent to the Al. Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet National Academic Theater.
The event was attended by President Vahagn Khachaturyan, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Vahram Dumanyan, Chairman of the Republic Party Aram Sargsyan, Ohan Durian's wife Alice Duryan and son Narek Duryan.
The idea of the statue-memorial belongs to Vahan Vardapetyan, the sculptor of the statue is Getik Baghdasaryan, the architect is Sahak Safaryan, the idea of the glass pedestal belongs to Arsen Petrosyan. Coordination works were carried out by Samvel Ghumashyan.
Prime Minister Pashinyan made a speech in which he stated:
"Honorable President of the Republic of Armenia,
It's a really very happy occasion, and I must say that I have had the honor and a joy, but perhaps it's also a shortcoming in some sense, to communicate with maestro Ohan Durian almost equally inside these walls and outside these walls. It's actually a shortcoming, because the right balance would be to interact more within these walls than outside the walls, in this square. I have to admit that now, really, what I saw and heard filled me with a lot of positive charges, because I have to be honest, I have to talk about two episodes.
The first time I heard the idea of placing a statue to Ohan Duryan in Freedom Square, to be honest, it was unexpected for me, because after all, Freedom Square, and how much Ohan Durian will be in harmony with the Freedom Square? I knew he would be in harmony, but still, the statue is a different phenomenon. And when I understood the idea in more detail, grasped the idea, I saw that Ohan Durian's presence in Freedom Square is really very important, because I think that Ohan Durian's presence in Freedom Square, or rather right here, symbolizes his presence both inside these walls, and outside these walls.
I think Ohan Durian's presence here also symbolizes the presence of many of our political partners in this square: Aram Sargsyan's presence is emphasized, Vahagn Khachaturyan's presence is emphasized, Vahram Dumanyan's presence is emphasized. I don't know, many people may not be aware, but in 2007, together with Vahram Dumanyan, we held a number of political events in this square. It emphasizes also my presence. I don't want to give too many names, because we are living hard times, I don't know if a person will perceive it positively if I give his name, one may say why my name is being speculated in the Freedom Square. I remembered that I held my first rally in Freedom Square, where I gave a speech, right there, under that pillar. This is very important.
The next fact, I also told the President about it a while ago, I have to thank you, Mr. Vardapetyan, because I know what kind of personal attachment you have with maestro Ohan Durian. I have to admit, all this time I was thinking how much that personal attachment could contradict, contrast with the aesthetics of the Freedom Square and the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. I was a little worried that, however, both Ohan Durian's factor and Mr. Vardapetyan's personal devotion to Ohan Durian might disrupt the aesthetics, but I have to say that it turned out to be a really magnificent place, a magnificent composition, and I am grateful for that.
Secondly, I was asked if I am aware of the commotion over Ohan Durian's statue? I said no, I don’t know. I was told that a project of the statue has been published, and there is a lot of noise and criticism around it. I said send it to me, you can send the photo. When I saw that photo, I was shocked, because, to be honest, for me Ohan Durian was just like what I saw in the photo. Moreover, he did not look like that on the stage. I remember - if I'm wrong, please correct me - there is a documentary film about Ohan Durian, Stas Namin made that film, right? In that film, during the rehearsal, Ohan Durian is in a short-sleeved shirt, and I was shocked by the work and the look of his impressive arms, those muscular, impressive arms, because, sorry, Ohan Durian in a tuxedo or tailcoat is not visible and fully understood. Ohan Durian is the incomprehensible but at the same time captivating movement of those bare, muscular arms. If Ohan Durian had another statue, think of it as not Ohan Durian's statue. I also congratulate the author of this idea, I thank the implementor of the idea.
We talked about Ohan Durian’s character, and I want to conclude with the following emphasis: he was born in Jerusalem, traveled all over the world and rests in the homeland, and he lived in the homeland. Ohan Durian, if I remember correctly, had very big, noisy and successful tours in Armenia back in the 50s. His conducting activity in Armenia dates back to the end of the 50s and then his return to the already independent republic. Usually when one says pilgrimage, they understand Jerusalem, but I understand Ohan Durian's life and journey as a pilgrimage from Jerusalem to a sovereign state, a sovereign homeland.
What we have to do, I consider, is the continuation of that dream. A dream is a living phenomenon, and I understand now that we have not noticed the most concrete dream among dreams, which is that Armenia itself should be concrete, visible, measurable, tangible, and that is the guarantee of Armenia's existence. It's not very easy because even we perceive our loved ones as ideal. The ideal is beyond concreteness, because when you make a person concrete, you see his shortcomings and advantages. Sometimes you realize that he is not as toll as you would want, he is not so handsome as you would like, sometimes he is not as solid as you would like, sometimes he is not even as strong as you would like, but this is when the culmination of love comes. When you love in concreteness, when you love someone the way he is, you don't love the person of your dreams, but from the person of your dreams you get a concrete person who has pains, shortcomings, weaknesses, who is not so divine and cosmic like you dreamed or thought. But you, perceiving him as such, make him stronger and love him more. The same is for the motherland: to love the motherland, concretizing, seeing all its advantages and disadvantages, taking it down from the pedestal and making it an object of daily care: love, affection, criticism, harsh criticism, debate, argument, yes, family quarrel, and to protect it with all this. I perceive today's symbol like this. Ohan Durian was taken down from two pedestals, cultural and political, and was placed and rested on the soil of the Republic of Armenia. This is today's symbolism, and I congratulate all of us on the occasion of this symbolism."