On February 10, A. Zhubanov and L. Khamidi’s opera Abai opened the tour of the Astana Opera to Almaty at the Abai Opera House. The listeners did not hold back tears in the final scene, showed their appreciation of the artists’ skills with a standing ovation, and at the end of the night waited for the vocalists to take their autographs and thank them for the wonderful performance.
The tour of the Astana Opera to Almaty is taking place from February 10 to 18 within the framework of the program of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev “Rukhani Zhangyru” (Course towards the Future: Modernization of Kazakhstan’s Identity) on the international project Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World and it is organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
“I would like to thank the Minister of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediyuly for the support of the Astana Opera tour. Thanks to cultural exchange, we grow as performers, and have the opportunity to present our creative work to audiences in different cities and countries, which is very important for us. Today’s performance was a great success. We, the artists, felt the audience, the warmth and delight with which we were received by the Almaty listeners, and we give our thanks for their love for high art,” said Honored Artist of Kazakhstan Maira Mukhamedkyzy.
This evening the leading roles were presented by the artists of the capital’s opera house. Honored Worker of Kazakhstan Sundet Baigozhin brilliantly performed the title role, both in the vocal and acting aspects. International competitions laureate Meir Bainesh beautifully performed the part of Aidar. Honored Artist of Kazakhstan, opera prima Maira Mukhamedkizy in the role of Azhar showed wonderful acting skills, her voice sounded soft and velvety. Scholarship holder of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Leader of the Nation Tatyana Vitsinskaya performed the role of Karlygash. Talented Talgat Galeev presented the part of Kokbai. Azim – Beimbet Tanarykov, People’s Artist of Armenia Barseg Tumanyan portrayed Syrttan, Evgeni Chainikov sang Zhirenshe. Narymbet – Ramzat Balakishiyev, Mes – Haidar Mustapin.
“It was a very interesting performance. It is a classic example of national opera with splendid scenery and costumes, melodic richness of folk songs and dances. Of course, such names as M. Auezov, A. Zhubanov and L. Khamidi make this opera immortal and brilliant. All the artists were at a good level today, the orchestra and choir sounded great! I will say only one thing: “Astana Opera, bravo!” listener Dulat Omarov shared his impressions.
Prominent cultural, political and public figures praised the performance of Abai. Among them are Alibek Dnishev, Asanali Ashimov, Yesmukhan Obayev and many others. During the intermission, they noted the virtuosity of the conductor, the scale of his personality, spoke about the quality work of the vocalists.
“I was very impressed with the new edition of the opera, magnificent sets and costumes. The finale of the opera Abai makes us proud of our country, our history, our literature, our people,” the famous Kazakh opera singer Alibek Dnishev said after the performance.
“The tour is taking place within the framework of the remarkable program “Rukhani Zhangyru”. It gives an opportunity to show the whole world the high level of culture of our country. I am very pleased with this tour, as our opera houses conduct creative dialogue, strengthen our friendship. Today we performed in the Southern capital of Kazakhstan, at the Abai Opera House – ‘Kara Shanyrak’ of our operatic art. Here the premiere, the birth of the opera Abai took place in 1944. This performance is an important exam for our company. The Almaty audience is very enlightened, cultured, and its incessant, stormy ovations, which sounded today, were a great reward and high appreciation of our work,” maestro Alan Buribayev said.
Principal Conductor of the Astana Opera added that it is not his first production of Abai, stressing the international significance of this opera.
“In 2013, I realized a new production of the opera Abai in Germany, which was a huge success. Moreover, this was the year of the 200th anniversary of composers R. Wagner and G. Verdi. It is impossible to imagine any world opera house without their works. Three productions were nominated for the Production of the Year – Das Liebesverbot by R. Wagner, Un Ballo in Maschera by G. Verdi and Abai by A. Zhubanov, L. Khamidi, and the on the anniversary year of R. Wagner and G. Verdi, the opera Abai was named the Production of the Year! The work conquers its listeners. In 2014, with the company of the Abai Opera House we performed this opera in France, where it was a resounding success. I always advocate Kazakh art and whenever I play with orchestras I try to include Kazakh symphonic music in the program. I recorded the dances from the third act of the opera Abai – the Wedding suite – on the BBC Radio 3 in London. The last time I played dances from Abai in Japan, and one of the leading Japanese newspapers Yomiuri Shimbun expressed their delight with our music. As soon as people hear this opera they come and say to me: “Give me the score! How can I learn more about this opera? Who is Abai?”... The opera Abai opens the hearts of people of different nations like a key!” Alan Buribayev added.
“I used to think that Kazakh operas, first and foremost, are interesting for us, because it is important for us to learn more about ourselves, but it turned out that the music of this opera is universal, it is perceived with equal enthusiasm all over the world. The opera Abai has become a hallmark of our art. We will always perform this opera, and there will always be a special reverent attitude towards it. Abai is a sacred subject for us,” the maestro concluded.
Stage Director – Giancarlo Del Monaco, Set Designer – outstanding contemporary set designer Ezio Frigerio, Costume Designer – the Academy Award winner Franca Squarciapino, Projection Designer – Sergio Metalli, Lighting Designer – Vinicio Cheli. The Astana Opera Choir and Symphony Orchestra. Principal Choirmaster – Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Dautov.
Let us remind that tomorrow, on February 11, there will be a second performance of the opera Abai. A young promising singer, marvelous mezzo-soprano, international competitions laureate Malika Minisini will debut as Karlygash. Baritone Yerzhan Saipov, who is preparing the part of Kokbai, will also be debuting that evening. The ballet Manon by the famous 20th century choreographer Kenneth MacMillan will be featured on February 14 at 19.00. The ballet Notre Dame de Paris by outstanding French choreographer Roland Petit to the music of Maurice Jarre, which will be held on February 17 and 18 at 18.00, will conclude the tour.