Viva Concha Top
sounds and video
historical notes

A Rose by any other name-
Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio

translated into Russian!

Notes from composer
Candace Forest

On April 9, 2008, the 202nd anniversary of Nikolai Rezanov's landing in San Francisco, I received a call from Ludmila Volshtein who teaches English to "would-be English teachers" at Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University.  She was quite surprised that I actually answered the phone and I was quite surprised to have a phone call from Russia!

Ludmila explained that she had acted as interpreter for our friend, historian Eve Iversen when she lectured at the University during her visit to Krasnoyarsk in 2007 for the dedication of a new statue to Commander Rezanov.  Eve presented the DVD of Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio to the Faculty of Foreign Languages and it sparked a renewed interest in the well-known legendary story. 

There is a popular rock-opera version of the story in Russia called The Juno and the Avos and Ludmila incorporated the actual "study"

Russian Translator Team
Standing right to left: Ksenia Sorchinova, Katya Kovtun, Masha Maltseva,
Ira Ozolina, and Valya Svintsitskya. Ludmila Volstein seated in center.

of Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio into the curriculum so that "students could do some comparative linguistic and historical research on the subject." She was calling to ask if I could send the written lyrics to her so that "students could know the exact wording of the songs."
I responded by asking if she thought they might be interested in doing a complete translation of the libretto since we have high hopes of one day producing the show in Russia and having the "super-titles" would be a great help for Russian audiences. She agreed to present the idea to her graduate seminar class and I'm happy to report that
they have just finished a complete Russian translation of the script! This "cultural exchange" is an honor to all of us connected with
Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio and it is with great joy and deep gratitude that we introduce the Translating Team of 5 members of the University's graduate Seminar English class pictured here with Ludmila Voshstein.  We hope that this will be the first of many joint efforts to build closer relations with our friends in Krasnoyarsk with whom we share this enduring story and remarkable history.



Resanov Satue in Russia

The new bronze statue of Commander Rezanov is unveiled at the City Day Ceremony in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and the Russian Orthodox priests bless the new statue of Commander Rezanov.

The DVD travels to Russia

Eve Iversen presents a copy of the Viva Concha! DVD to the Mayor of Krasnoyarsk.


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Local Love Story
Goes To Russia

June 2007

Read the article in Leah Garchik's column in the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco's 200 year-old love story of the romance between Concepción "Concha" Arguello and Chamberlain to the Czar, Nikolai Rezanov was broadcasted on TV in Russia as part of a weeklong celebration taking place in Krasnoyarsk, Rezanov's final resting place. A DVD of a recent showcase of Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio, a chamber musical by local composer/writer Candace Forest starring Aimée Puentes as Concha Arguello and Codrut Birsan as Rezanov has been hand carried to central Siberia by historian/ author Eve Iversen. It will be screened there for a live audience and broadcast across the region on Russian television.

In a ceremony at St. Dominic's Cemetery in Benicia, where Concha rests as Sister Maria Dominica, California's first native-born nun, a trowel of soil from her grave and a rose were blessed by Father Thomas Hayes O.P. while "Missing You" a haunting duet from Forest's musical was played. Along with the DVD of Viva Concha!, Iversen carries the soil and the rose to be placed on Rezanov's grave in Krasnoyarsk.


Aimee at Concha's Grave

Aimée Puentes at Concha's Grave at St. Dominic's Cemetery in Benicia.

Blessing of the Rose

A trowel of soil from her grave and a rose were blessed by Father Thomas Hayes.


Concha and Resanov

California's most celebrated lovers, Concepción "Concha" Arguello and Nikolai Rezanov are brought to life by soprano, Aimée Puentes and tenor, Codrut Birsan in musical highlights from Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio by Candace Forest.














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In Concert…


February 24, 2007
at 2 PM

at the Benicia Historical Museum* in Benicia, CA

Viva Concha! Productions and the Benicia Historical Museum present Aimée Puentes (Concha Arguello), Codrut Birsan (Nikolai Rezanov), Erick Casanova (Santiago de Aguilar), Sibel Demirmen (Isabella Diaz), Mark Enea (Brother Diego), Sandy Castleberry (Maria), Hattie Mullaly (Elena), Alyssa Jepsky (Gertrudis Arguello) and others in a concert of musical highlights from Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio. Candace Forest, composer of the work, will provide commentary and accompaniment.

This concert is part of the Annual celebration of Concha and Nikolai that features a poetry competition and a keynote address by Eve Iversen, author of
The Romance of Nikolai Rezanov and Concepción Arguello (The Limestone Press).


*Benicia Historical Museum
  2060 Camel Road
  Benicia, CA 94590




A 200 year old love affair is celebrated in song starring Aimée Puentes as Concepción "Concha" Arguello and Codrut Birsan as Nikolai Rezanov at the Benicia Historical Museum's Annual celebration and Poetry competition honoring the lovers on Saturday, February 24 at 2 p.m. in Benicia.