10 Января 2018
Tour of the Astana Opera to Almaty
The Astana Opera is going on tour to the cultural capital of Kazakhstan – the city of Almaty. The capital’s opera house will present a rich program featuring world art masterpieces at the alma mater of opera and ballet – the Abay Opera House. The tour will be held within the framework of the program “Rukhani Zhangyru” with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan from February 10 to 18.
The tour will begin with the outstanding work of Kazakh musical art – national classical opera Abai by A. Zhubanov and L. Khamidi. The production will be presented twice – on February 10 and 11 at 18:00. Celebrated maestro, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, Principal Conductor of the Astana Opera Alan Buribayev will be conducting the performance.
“This tour is very important for us, first and foremost, because we are performing for the people of Kazakhstan – our native viewers. Most of the artists of our company will appear onstage in front of their teachers, who will assess their professional growth. This is another exam for all of us. In general, every company needs touring life, exchange of experience,” said the Director of the Astana Opera Galym Akhmedyarov. “We did not choose the opera Abai for the Almaty tour by chance; this work became the hallmark of our national art. By performing this opera we pay homage to the oldest Kazakhstani opera and ballet theatre named after Abai,” Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Galym Ahmedyarov continued.
Operatic masterpiece is based on the libretto of the great writer Mukhtar Auezov. At the heart of the story are dramatic events from the life of the great Kazakh poet, educator and philosopher Abai Kunanbayev (1845-1904).
The star cast of the Astana Opera’s Principal Soloists is preparing to present the main parts. The title role will be performed by the Honoured Workers of Kazakhstan Sundet Baigozhin and Zhanat Shybykbayev, Aidar – international competitions laureate Meir Bainesh and Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Nurlan Bekmukhambetov, Azhar – Honoured Artist of Kazakhstan, opera prima Maira Mukhamedkyzy and Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Saltanat Akhmetova. Karlygash – Tatyana Vitsinskaya, scholarship holder of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Leader of the Nation. A young promising singer, international competitions laureate, delightful mezzo-soprano Malika Minisini will debut in this part. Baritone Yerzhan Saipov will also have a debut; he is preparing a role of Kokbai. On the first day this part will be performed by Talgat Galeyev. Syrttan – People’s Artist of Armenia, Principal Soloist of the Astana Opera Barseg Tumanyan and international competitions laureate Bolat Yessimkhanov.
The production was created by the outstanding artistic figures of Kazakhstan and Italy. Music Director and Conductor is Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, great-grandson of composer A. Zhubanov – Alan Buribayev. Staging is created by famous Italian director Giancarlo del Monaco, Consulting Director – People’s Artist of Kazakhstan, Professor Yesmukhan Obayev, Chief Choirmaster – Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Dautov. Famous contemporary set designer Ezio Frigerio and the Academy Award-winning costume designer Franca Squarciapino designed the opera. Assistant Costume Designer – Arassel Dosmuratova. Choreographers – Honoured Workers of Kazakhstan Tursynbek Nurkaliev and Galiya Buribayeva.
On February 14 at 19:00 the ballet Manon by the outstanding choreographer of the XX century Kenneth MacMIllan will continue the tour program. The ballet is based on the novel by Abbé Prévost, L’Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut. The production was added to the Astana Opera’s repertoire relatively recently: the premiere took place on April 28, 2017. Keepers of the traditions of the Royal Ballet choreographers Karl Burnett and Patricia Ruanne staged the ballet at the capital’s opera house. Music Director and Conductor – Arman Urazgaliev. Orchestrated and Arranged by Martin Yates Set and Costume Designer – Nicholas Georgiadis.
It is important to note that the production was added the opera house’s repertoire thanks to the Artistic Director of the ballet company People’s Artist of Russia Altynai Asylmuratova. She herself has danced the title role of Manon at the legendary London’s opera house many times, working on the portrayal personally with Kenneth MacMillan. The production team responded to her proposal to revive this masterpiece on the Kazakhstani stage with great joy.
“The Astana Opera Ballet Company has performed R. Petit’s Notre Dame de Paris to the music of M. Jarre at the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia and at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Italy, but we will be presenting the ballet Manon on tour for the first time. Today this choreographic canvas is considered a British classic. Any performance always has positive heroes, which spectators sympathizes with, and the negative ones also, but the choreographer presents this story in such a way that we empathize with all the characters and at times feel compassion for them,” Altynai Asylmuratova said.
K. MacMillan sympathizes with the capricious Manon, bringing to the ballet his characteristic understanding of psychology and personal memories of his impoverished childhood. MacMillan described his heroine as “is not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor. Poverty in that period was the equivalent of long, slow death”. MacMillan’s incredible choreography has created vivid and lively images of Paris and New Orleans’ society. But the main energy charge is borne by the passionate pas de deux of Manon and Des Grieux, which drives the entire tragedy, turning Manon into one of MacMillan’s most incredible dramas.
Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Madina Basbayeva will perform the part of Manon, Des Grieux – Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Rustem Seitbekov, Lescaut – Grand Prix winner of numerous international competitions Bakhtiyar Adamzhan / international competitions laureate Arman Urazov, Monsieur GM – Zhanibek Imankulov, the role of Lescaut’s mistress will be presented by Anel Rustemova.
Rolan Petit’s ballet Notre Dame de Paris to the music of Maurice Jarre, which will take place on February 17 and 18 at 18:00, will conclude the tour. The production is highly popular all over the world; however, it is not featured in most opera houses. The foundation “Les Ballets Roland Petit” (France) has granted the Kazakhstani opera house exclusive rights to recreate the production.
The Artistic Director of the Astana Opera Ballet Company Altynai Asylmuratova was fortunate to work personally with a remarkable man – Rolan Petit. This choreographic masterpiece was added to the opera house’s repertoire thanks to Altynai Abduakhimovna.
The ballet has 13 episodes and 4 characters. Beautiful Esmeralda and the bell-ringer of the Cathedral – the lame hunchback Quasimodo, by the definition of Roland Petit, who wrote the libretto, are people rejected by society because of their dissimilarity to others. The priest Frollo hides a fierce inner struggle between rebellious flesh and spirit behind external hypocritical decency and piety. The fourth hero is the handsome Captain Phoebus.
The role of the corps de ballet is as important as that of the main characters, and it actively participates in the events taking place: at times the crowd is astonished by Quasimodo’s deformity, or is praying in the church, it rejoices at saving Esmeralda, and after that demands her execution.
Despite the fact that there are 4 main characters in the ballet, the figure of the humpback bell-ringer is central in the ballet. Roland Petit conceived the ballet as a story about Quasimodo and has created this part for himself. The choreographer was also the first performer of this role, and he doesn’t use a disfiguring costume and makeup in the production – he ‘danced’ his hump.
Choreographer – Roland Petit, Set Designer – Rene Allio, Costume Designer – Yves Saint Laurent. The choreography was revived by the Ballet Master Luigi Bonino, Assistant Ballet Mistress – Gillian Whittingham. Music Director and Conductor – Arman Urazgaliyev.
Grand Prix winner of numerous international competitions Bakhtiyar Adamzhan and Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Rustem Seitbekov are preparing the part of Quasimodo, Honoured Workers of Kazakhstan Aigerim Beketayeva and Madina Basbayeva will perform the role of beautiful Esmeralda, Frollo – international competitions laureates Arman Urazov and Serik Nakyspekov, Phoebus – international competitions laureates Olzhas Tarlanov and Yerkin Rakhmatullaev.