Astana Opera: Masterpiece Revival
Last weekend, November 17 and 18, the ballet Beethoven – Immortal – Love was presented at the capital’s Astana Opera. German choreographer Raimondo Rebeck worked on the restored version. Music director and conductor of the production is Honored Worker of Kazakhstan, Maestro Abzal Mukhitdin, Kazinform Agency cites the Astana Opera's press service.
“While this ballet was not performed for some time, many things happened in between: in the world, in my life and in everyone’s life, good stuff, bad stuff, but many things. I think the audience saw the production in a different light, and even the soloists became different, because they had time to let it sink in and to think about this story. I see the difference in them: how they interpret their roles, how they see their characters. The company is in excellent shape and very well prepared. The team of ballet masters-repetiteurs on staff did really well rehearsing with them. The cast of the production has been updated, and I am grateful to have these new faces with new input. They interpret the characters in a different way, have different lines, which is refreshing for me. For example, Madina Unerbayeva, a beautiful new Love, and then there is Sofiya Adilkhanova, who has beautiful lines and very strong work on the character. Arman Urazov brought new colors to the part of Beethoven, as did Sultanbek Gumar to the part of Illness. All of them are extraordinarily good. Thus, the company now has a balance of mature and fresh new faces,” choreographer Raimondo Rebeck said.
This stunning creation combines virtuoso choreography, musical splendor (a lot of effort was put into this by the symphony orchestra, choir and opera soloists) and a thrilling story of life of the great Ludwig van Beethoven. The German choreographer reflected the emotional palette, tragedy and the inner world of the composer through dance, presenting to the viewers a unique production with deep meaning.
The sets, skillfully designed by Japanese set designer Yoko Seyama, became an opportunity to express the story of Beethoven’s life. From his early creative successes and joys, through the difficult periods of his life associated with loss and illness, to the final act that embodies the immortality of his music.
The musical choices, based on the music of Beethoven himself, as well as Bach, Haydn, Mozart and contemporary composer Dirk Haubrich, was profoundly harmonious. The beautiful solos performed by Honored Worker of Kazakhstan Dolores Umbetaliyeva also touched the soul. She masterfully played Bach’s Prelude in C Minor, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (second movement), Für Elise, Piano Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight Sonata” (first movement), Piano Concerto No. 5 (second movement).
“We started preparing for the performance a month ago. Upon arrival, Raimondo Rebeck checked the purity of the dance and made some tweaks, although the revived version was practically no different from the original one. Speaking of my part, performing the role of the great composer Beethoven is a great honor for me. When preparing, I studied Beethoven’s biography through various sources. Having become a semi-musician myself, I got into character and I think I was able to tell the audience about the composer’s outstanding works. In this production, I strived to convey to the viewers that Beethoven was the closest to outer space among the world’s geniuses. Beethoven was a man with a generosity of spirit and rich creative legacy, but his fate turned out to be difficult: the composer became seriously ill,” Honored Worker of Kazakhstan Bakhtiyar Adamzhan said after the performance. “I think it is not easy to portray such eminent figures as Beethoven onstage. He is one of the most complex characters, the entire world knows what kind of person Beethoven was, knows his work, so you need to be very precise when performing him onstage. It is important to be able to convey the hero’s facial expressions and behavior correctly,” Bakhtiyar Adamzhan concluded.
The dancers made a great impression with their skill and expressiveness. They performed their parts at the highest level. A distinctive feature of the soloists’ performance was their skillful acting, which set the dynamics and rhythm of the ballet. Thus, Bakhtiyar Adamzhan and Arman Urazov presented Beethoven. Immortal Love – Honored Workers of Kazakhstan Aigerim Beketayeva and Madina Unerbayeva. Euterpe – Assel Shaikenova, Sofiya Adilkhanova. Illness – Serik Nakyspekov, Sultanbek Gumar. Mozart – Aibar Toktar, Galymzhan Nurmukhamet. Haydn – Islam Kaipbai, Daniyar Zhumatayev. Count – Zhanibek Akhmediyev, Dias Kurmangazy. Countess – Moldir Shakimova, Madoka Yano. Father – Sunggat Kydyrbai, Kuat Karibayev. Mother – Alina Khalimolla and Gulnur Kaisarova. The soloists were able to convey through the language of dance the subtlest nuances of choreography from exquisite pas de deux to energetic ensemble numbers. Exceptional charisma and skill of the company’s performance emphasized the importance of every moment of the master’s life.
The ballet Beethoven – Immortal – Love not only told about the life of the composer, but also evoked in the viewers deep thoughts about the immortality of art, the eternity of music, which continues to bring people joy through the centuries. This choreographic canvas gave the audience an opportunity to see a collective portrayal of a creative person, immerse themselves in the world of the great composer and feel the power of music of his genius.