A priceless gift for Astana birthday

June 22. Kazpravda

By Laura Tusupbekova, Bektur KADYROV

A priceless gift for Astana birthdayYesterday President Nursultan Nazarbayev attended Birzhan-Sara opera premier at the new Astana Opera Theater.

The President congratulated the attendees on the opening of the Astana Opera theatre, calling it a priceless gift for the 15th anniversary of our capital. He thanked the architects and builders of the theater, largest in Central Asia and perfect technically.

-Development of culture is prioritized in the country; Kazakh culture has to be recognizable part of the global cultural heritage. This applies to all forms of contemporary art – music, theater, cinema, literature and painting. We are the country that is building factories and roads, schools and hospitals, taking care about the future of the nation for decades ahead. We are building theaters, looking many years ahead, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Birzhan-Sara opera in the new performance was staged by Yuri Alexandrov. Main parts in it were sung by merited artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Tatarstan Nurzhamal Usenbayeva and merited artist of Russia and Tatarstan Ahmed Agadi.

This opera is also timed to the 100th anniversary of the outstanding composer Mukan Tulebayev, the author of Birzhan-Sara.

Stage director, national artist of Russia Yuri Alexandrov has staged 14 performances in Kazakhstan, and art director, national artist of Russia Vyacheslav Okunev – 20 of them (ballet including). This St. Petersburg duo worked at other operas in Kazakhstan. One of them is “Abylaikhan” by Yerkegali Rakhmadiyev, staged at the Abay State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for which they were awarded Dostyk order- Kazakhstan State Award.

And this very production of Birjan-Sara is already fourth. The first one was premiered in 1946 (directed by K. Dzhandarbekov, with A. Umbetbaev and K.Baiseitova singing main parts), the second – in 1976 (directed by B. Dosymzhanov), the third – in 2000 (directed by national artist A.Mambetov).

Producers of this version have done a great job, learning the earlier versions, working in the ethnographic museum and with the historical literature to recreate the costumes of the northern region of Kazakhstan in XIX century. A St. Petersburg choreographer Vladimir Romanovsky did his part in the staging as well, which helped make it top-performing.

Yuri Alexandrov had carefully studied M. Tulebayev’s sheets and previous productions to infer that the opera is getting increasingly hackneyed and to re-energize it with new ideas. Together with Kazakh conductor Abzal Mukhitdinov they brought in some changes, slashing and replacing parts of it here and there. Yuri Alexandrov rightly believes that, like any classic work, Birzhan-Sara has the right to interpretation.

It made the performance somewhat more Europeanized and romantic, and with a more realistic story. The folklore motifs remained with human emotions foregrounded at that. The main goal was to make the performance as close to the viewer as possible, and judging by the reaction of the audience, the storm of applause it was achieved.