Astana Opera: Bravo, Operaliya!

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Photo: Astana Opera’s press office
ASTANA. KAZINFORM The grand Operaliya International Festival, held with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, completed the Astana Opera’s 10th anniversary season on July 16.

The history of Operaliya originates from the Kulyash Baiseitova National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The main goal of the festival was to acquaint the audience with the creative work of famous artists, as well as build cultural bridges with teams from different parts of the world. Opera and ballet stars from 12 countries performed at the Astana Opera this year as part of the festival, Kazinform quotes the Astana Opera’s press office.

The opening ceremony of the festival was held on June 20 with great success. Jiří Kylián’s ballets Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze to Mozart’s music performed by the Astana Opera Ballet Company and Falling Angels to Steve Reich’s music performed by the Astana Ballet were presented at the opera house on the first festival day.


Prokofiev’s Cinderella in Raimondo Rebeck’s choreography continued the series of ballet performances on June 23. On June 28, a concert Serpin of the Folk Music Ensemble of the Presidential Orchestra was held at the Kulyash Baiseitova Chamber Hall. The program included melodies and songs by Kazakh composers, as well as works from the classical repertoire.

On June 29 and 30, one of the main events of the festival was the premiere of Rossini’s opera L’Italiana in Algeri. On June 29, a guest soloist from Italy, Laura Verrecchia, took the stage as Isabella, and Italian Maestro Giuseppe Acquaviva took up the conductor’s baton on June 30. The production also featured promising young artists, the first graduates of the Astana Opera International Opera Academy.


On July 5 and 6, the outstanding stage director Franco Zeffirelli’s large-scale production of Verdi’s Aida was presented to the audience at the Astana Opera within the framework of the Operaliya International Festival. Maestro Dian Tchobanov from Bulgaria conducted the performances, and there were guest opera stars from Italy – tenor Diego Cavazzin, who performed the main male part of Radamès and mezzo-soprano Isabel de Paoli, who portrayed the proud Princess Amneris. The celebrated baritone from Mongolia Badral Chuluunbaatar cut a brilliant figure as Amonasro.

On July 7, the Astana Opera stage became a meeting place for artists from China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan. With the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, residents and guests of the capital were treated to a diverse program presented by soloists as part of the Operaliya International Festival. The evening was conducted by three maestros – Ruslan Baimurzin, Elmar Buribayev and Koki Yang from China.

The Twelve Seasons concert took place at the Kulyash Baiseitova Chamber Hall on July 9. Vivaldi, Piazzolla and Podgaits’ popular cycles were зкуыутеув, with Efrem Podgaits’ work performed in Kazakhstan for the first time. The guest soloist was the world famous violinist Alexei Lundin.


One of the opera house’s largest productions – Puccini’s opera Turandot took place on July 12 and 13. The Astana Opera’s principal conductor Alan Buribayev conducted the performances featuring the opera house’s opera stars and a guest soloist from South Korea Sejoon An as Calaf.

On July 14, the celebrated Astana Opera Chamber Choir presented a concert of music by Kazakh composers And, of Course, It Is Better to Win as a Choir! at the Kulyash Baiseitova Chamber Hall. Incidentally, the name of the evening was given as a tribute by the team’s recent brilliant victory at the Hajnówka International Festival in Poland.


The final event of the festival and the Astana Opera’s 10th anniversary season was a symphony concert featuring world stars. That evening, under the baton of the world-famous Maestro Alan Buribayev, the premiere of the suite from Akhmet and Gaziza Zhubanovs’ opera Qurmanghazy was a great success with the audience, as well as Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 «Titan». Internationally acclaimed cellist Jing Zhao performed for the first time in Kazakhstan.


It is important to note that the anniversary season was very productive for the capital’s opera house. The Astana Opera’s creative teams went on tour 7 times. The performances and concert programs of the opera house were attended by more than 100 thousand people. About 300 events were held, including 49 operas, 49 ballets, 141 concerts, and about 50 exhibitions were held in the opera house’s foyer.


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