Astana Opera International Opera Academy graduate to perform at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre

Photo: Astana Opera Press Office
ASTANA. KAZINFORM Kazakh soprano, the Astana Opera International Opera Academy graduate Guldana Aldadossova, was invited to perform at the Moscow Academic Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre and at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. The promising young singer, winner of around 20 international competitions, shared in her interview how to show your worth in today’s music world, Kazinform reports.

Guldana, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Aktobe, graduated with honors from the Akhmet Zhubanov Aktobe Music School with a degree in Academic Vocals. After that I was admitted to the Kazakh National University of Arts (Dina Kabykeyeva’s class). When I graduated from the Bachelor’s program and was a first-year Master’s student, I found out that the Astana Opera International Opera Academy will be established at the Astana Opera. After passing several stages of examinations and auditions, I was accepted. During my studies, I was lucky enough to take part in opera productions from the opera house’s repertoire, and a number of premieres prepared by our academy, and to perform on tour at the Abai Opera House, Hungarian State Opera, Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Concert Hall and other venues.

Did you dream of performing onstage as a child? Who discovered your talent?

As a child, I did not think that music, art, would become my calling. However, I did study qobyz for three years. After that I engaged in karate-do, judo, dance, folk singing, looking for my niche. When I had to quit qobyz due to personal reasons, the teachers, being true specialists devoted to their vocation, asked me to stay. The same thing happened with folk singing. They probably saw something in me that my parents and I missed. When in 8th grade my friends decided to sign up for vocal classes, I thought, why not try? I ended up in the class of Angelina Yugai, a graduate of the Almaty Qurmanghazy Conservatory. Ms Yugai noted that I had an aptitude for academic vocals rather than pop singing, and suggested that I enroll in music school to study with the Honored Worker of Kazakhstan Marat Aitimov.

One day, as a schoolgirl, we were watching TV as a family in the evening and I saw a symphony concert performed by an orchestra from Astana. I remember that I was so spellbound listening that I asked my father not to switch channels. It seems that even then something deep in my soul responded to the sound of classical music.

Folk music classes gave me a basis that helped me study academic vocals in the future. Judo, karate-do and dance provided with physical conditioning, as an opera singer must be strong and robust. It also was good preparation for scenic movement.

Over the years of study, you became a laureate of international competitions. What helped you achieve success: perseverance, leadership qualities, or hard work and talent?

I think it was all of it combined. It is not for nothing that people say that diligence is the mother of success. 90% of success is hard work and 10% is talent. Working with the teachers was also instrumental here. That is, it is not only my hard work, but also that of my teachers: Anatoli Goussev, Zhupar Gabdullina, Dina Kabykeyeva and Marat Aitimov. I am very grateful to them. In addition, such a quality as thirst for knowledge is necessary here. It is important not to sit idly by, but seek opportunities for self-actualization, to interact more, work at the opera house, practice, and hone your skills.

Is it possible to build a career without competitions?

Many celebrated singers, such as Luciano Pavarotti and Anna Netrebko, became well-known due to competitions. Nevertheless, there are other world stars who did not win any competitions. Perhaps, they persisted, went to auditions in different cities and countries in front of agents and general managers of opera houses. It also depends on luck, on the fate of that particular singer and musician. There is an excellent Kazakh proverb, which best suits to this occasion: «Taudai talap bergenshe barmaqtai baq bersіn», which means: «I would rather the Almighty gave me good luck the size of a finger than giving me aspirations as high as a mountain.»

You are active in social media. What is their role in an artist’s career?

Social media is a free platform where you can express yourself and introduce the audience to your creative work. I do have accounts in major social media, but I am planning to pay more attention to this matter this summer. In my experience, there have already been instances when cultural organizations and artistic figures got in touch with me in this way. Therefore, I believe that social media can favorably influence the development of an artistic career.

Overall, how can young singers prove themselves in today’s music world?

First of all, to be informed, to strive to be better, to be open and inquisitive. Certainly, this must be done on the basis of a tremendous amount of work on developing your talent. However, in addition to this, one must seek opportunities and ways for growth. Being communicative and not afraid of anything is a must. Because of the language barrier, many talented young artists sometimes have a fear of the audience, of competitions, of other participants and agents. In my opinion, if you know the language at least a little, you must go and communicate. By interacting you can meet people and maybe even build a career to some extent. This is not your native language, and if you can express yourself, you will be understood. However, the most important thing is human resources.

What will you personally remember most about the Astana Opera Academy?

First and foremost, it is getting in touch with the opera house itself. When I was studying in the Bachelor’s program, every time I came to watch performances at the opera house, my heart would start beating faster and I felt inside myself that this was my thing. Passing by the opera house, I used to stop and gaze at this majestic building, thinking that this is my native opera house, my home, a sacred place for me, just like for any musician. When the start of the admission process to the academy was announced, I was very excited. Prior to this, our soloists did not have an opportunity to study at such academies, only few could take some kind of master classes abroad. With the exception of some artists such as Saltanat Akhmetova, Medet Chotabayev and others who studied at academies in Italy, in cities such as Osimo and Pesaro. Indeed, these singers were lucky, but we are even luckier, as we could study in our homeland. On the contrary, leading international coaches and teachers came to us. Certainly, over the course of two years, I took in everything beneficial that I could, as I always strive to absorb everything I can, like a sponge, and benefit from it.

In addition, the academy gave us valuable practical experience of stage performances at the splendid Kulyash Baiseitova Chamber Hall, magnificent Grand Hall, debuts in the main parts of Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Elvira in L’Italiana in Algeri, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Elisetta in Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto. Thus, the academy gave me many opportunities to showcase my skills, and after completing the studies, I think, I am slowly starting to build an artistic career as a singer.

For many artists it is important to work in a particular line of character. Have you already decided what types of heroines are closer to you?

You know, I am open to everything, as I like to experiment, try new things and I am not ashamed of appearing unattractive or clumsy onstage, with outlandish makeup or ridiculous hairstyles, as long as I enjoy the performance. On the contrary, it gives more to the soloist, helps to grow, to open up from unexpected sides and to reveal different facets of your artistic ability. Nikolai Kulikov, the opera house’s assistant stage director, noted that I am rather good at portraying opera buffa characters, and now I am preparing a dramatic part in an opera seria. According to Maestro Anatoli Goussev, my voice belongs to the Bel Canto genre. After gaining more stage experience, I can decide what I am better at, opera buffa characters or opera seria. There are also other modernistic interpretations of opera productions, which stage directors are so fond of now. In essence, I am also prepared to take part in such productions, because I think that you need to keep up with the times, as long as it is not detrimental to yourself or to art in general.

Tell us about your upcoming performances.

Late August and early September I will go to Sochi, Abkhazia and Smolensk. It will be a mini-tour of sorts where a grand Gala Concert of Hibla Gerzmava Competition laureates within the framework of Ms. Gerzmava’s festival, which she founded back in 2001. In the next theatrical season, in November, there will be a performance at the Golden Mask Award ceremony and a concert in Saint Petersburg also under the name of Hibla Gerzmava Competition. In addition, I am invited to make my debut in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in Donizetti’s eponymous opera at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre.

Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the most complex parts in the world opera repertoire. Could you please tell us how the preparation is coming along?

As a matter of fact, it is one of the most difficult main parts in the opera that is often staged at all the major operatic venues in the world. Therefore, for me it will be a milestone event, one of the most significant moments in my life. To perform this part, it is necessary to have well-established vocal skills. It is important to thoroughly prepare in order not to lose face and show your best and present your character interpretation to advantage. Especially since the performance will be taking place at one of the most well-known opera houses in the world, so it is a serious step for me.

Thank you!

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