Astana Opera’s Double Full House
May turned out to be really hot for the opera house. The company’s tours are simultaneously held in Almaty, Qaraghandy and Poland. In addition, this month the Astana Opera presents two premieres with great success to the Kazakh audience: the ballet Petite Mort by the outstanding contemporary choreographer Jiří Kylián and César Cui’s fairytale opera Puss in Boots. What is more, at the end of the tenth anniversary season, the opera house management announced the Operaliya International Festival, Kazinform quotes the Astana Opera’s press office.
As a reminder, on the first day of the tour to Almaty, the ballet company presented Yuri Grigorovich’s legendary production of Spartacus. The Gala Ballet, which created a sensation in the cultural capital, completed the program of performances.
The audience gave thunderous applause to the duet from Adolphe Adam’s ballet Giselle, beautifully performed by Anastasia Zaklinskaya and Dias Kurmangazy, and to the number from the production of How Long Is Now? in Raimondo Rebeck’s choreography, which was soulfully presented by Aigerim Beketayeva and Olzhas Tarlanov. For the first time on the Almaty stage, dancers Alexander Kornilov and Nazira Zayetova presented the number An Old Photograph choreographed by Dmitry Bryantsev. The funny story of young people was replaced by Qily Zaman to the music of the Turan ethno-folklore ensemble, which was fluidly and spiritually embodied by the company’s soloist Sultanbek Gumar. The mastery of the principal dancers Madina Unerbayeva, Aigerim Beketayeva, Yerkin Rakhmatullayev and Arman Urazov was evidenced by the shouts of «Bravo» coming from all corners of the auditorium.
However, most of all, Almaty high art aficionados, of course, were waiting for Jiří Kylián’s ballets Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, which not many theatres in the world have the rights to perform. Therefore, as soon as Mozart’s music was heard, the hall froze in anticipation. And, to the delight of the capital’s ballet company, the audience’s expectations came true.
«We all looked forward to the arrival of the Astana Opera with great impatience and joy, because for us it is an opportunity to get acquainted with new creative directions. Moreover, we are doubly happy that the formation of the Astana Opera began with our graduates, and we wished to see them onstage. They are in good professional form, for which many thanks to the artistic direction of the ballet company. My sincere gratitude to Altynai Asylmuratova for the great creative pleasure we received, I would like such meetings to become regular. All the dancers are excellent, but I was anxiously waiting for the performance of my pupil Yerkin Rakhmatullayev, and I was heartily glad of his success. Together with him the entire company showed a high level and professional growth. Jiří Kylián’s ballets were presented in the second part. This is a very interesting and expressive plastique, and the dancers managed to portray the characters that the choreographer offered them, the technique is complex, the performances are musical and bravo to the soloists, who managed to convey to the audience the serious essence of Kylián’s productions,» said the ballet dancer, teacher Alexander Medvedev.
«I think that the professional level of the Astana Opera Ballet Company’s dancers is undeniably high, and therefore such a company is capable of dancing both classical and modern choreography of any master. My wish for the company is not to lose the heights it has gained, to keep its brand. We were fortunate to see a completely new program, and we appreciated the ballet dancers we love, but in a new line of characters. It was interesting that it was possible to stage a ballet in a humorous genre to classical music. Of course, artists grow on this. A ballet company’s repertoire must include both classical and modern choreography. I saw more today than I expected. Our collectives are colleagues, so it is always interesting to see what the Astana Opera Ballet Company is doing,» the Honored Artist of Kazakhstan, teacher-choreographer Murat Tukeyev shared.
Theatregoers did not want to let the dancers go for a long time, and each new wave of applause was stronger than the previous one.
Meanwhile, the opera company soloists were preparing at rehearsals to perform a gala program at the Qaraghandy stage venue. For the discerning audience, they chose bright stage numbers and a concert version of Rachmaninoff’s opera Aleko.
Namely, that production was what started the enchanting performance of famous opera artists at the Saken Seifullin Theatre on Sunday, May 28. It is hard to imagine, but Sergei Rachmaninoff was only 19 years old when he, a graduate of the conservatory, in 17 days created his thesis work Aleko, which was destined to go down in the history of world opera on an equal footing with the masterpieces by recognized masters. And this year, the entire musical community is celebrating the great composer’s 150th anniversary, and the Astana Opera did not stand aside. Therefore, this operatic masterpiece was chosen for the Qaraghandy viewers, who are always at the forefront of theatrical art.
«Both parts of the tour performance of the Astana Opera Choir and opera company were presented at a very high standard. The Qaraghandy audience was fortunate to listen to the opera Aleko in its entirety, because, as a rule, it is performed only in the form of arias, the duet of Zemfira and the Young Gypsy, and some other duets. This, unfortunately, is absolutely undeserved. Because Rachmaninoff’s music and this opera in particular is one of the most beautiful in the world. I liked all the performers. Notably Shyngys Rassylkhan (Old Gypsy) presented his part not only vocally, but also in terms of acting, at the highest level. Sergei Matveyev worked with the artists as a director, in addition, he is an excellent narrator. He approached the work of Pushkin and Rachmaninoff with great love and a careful attitude. All the mise en scenes were thought out to the smallest detail, which is probably why it is even difficult to call this a concert performance, we saw a full-fledged opera production. The artists lived out this story, felt it and conveyed it to the viewers. I really liked the choir and the orchestra, the performance was well-coordinated, I would even say monolithic. The voices of the artists were wonderful, and this evening I discovered several singers for myself: Dinmukhamed Koshkinbayev, Narul Toikenov, the sound was fresh and clear. Aigul Niyazova, Zhamilya Jarkimbayeva, Meir Bainesh, Azamat Zheltyrguzov are masters, many words are not needed here, they are magnificent,» noted a well-known Kazakhstani journalist Vera Lyakhovskaya.
Throughout the musical evening, Maestro Pyotr Gribanov cut a brilliant figure at the conductor’s stand of the Yerkegali Rakhmadiyev Qaraghandy Academic Symphony Orchestra. It is important to note that the team completed its 40th season with this eventful concert.
The Gala Opera opened the second part of a rich tour program. Stage masters Aigul Niyazova, Zhamilya Jarkimbayeva, Gulzhanat Sapakova, Azamat Zheltyrguzov, Meir Bainesh, soloists Assem Sembina, Bolat Yessimkhanov, Shyngys Rassylkhan and Narul Toikenov, the Astana Opera International Opera Academy attendee Dinmukhamed Koshkinbayev, and artists of the Astana Opera Choir perfectly performed excerpts and arias from famous operas both solo and in duets.
«Almost every year the company of the Astana Opera comes to us on tour. This is due to the close creative ties between the two cities. We always look forward to your performances with great pleasure and never miss them. Tonight was no exception, it was truly magical. It is clear that the artists are in excellent vocal form, and also have a high level of acting skills. You just want to never stop listening to them perform, and I hope that they come to us again,» viewer Darkhan Utepov shared his emotions.