The world premiere of Astana Opera

Oct 22. Kazpravda

By Bektour Kadyrov, Natalia KURPYAKOVA

The world premiere of Astana OperaYesterday President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the Astana Opera Theatre for the premiered Attila opera.

Astana Opera is a largest opera house in the world, and was constructed by professionals from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic.

The cast of the Attila opera was starry: outstanding Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, Pier Luigi Pizzi- Italian opera director, set and costume designer, the Kazakh conductor and choirmaster Yerzhan Dautov, choreographer Roberto Maria Pizzuto (Italy). Performer of Attila was Ildar Abdrazakov (Russia), Ordabella — Anna Markarova (Russia), Ezio and Foresto — Claudio Sgurev and Luciano Ganci (Italy).

The libretto focuses on a clash of Rome with the hordes of Huns led by their king Attila, called «The Birth of the happiness of his people», «Righteous King» and by enemies — the «Scourge of God.» Attila confronts the Roman general Ezio, who drops to the king of the Huns a phrase: “You can have the universe, but leave Italy for me,” which brought forth a real patriotic demonstration and the opera became a favorite of the Italian audience for many years.

The Roman Empire was completely dependent on Attila, paid him a sizeable tribute, and once the Romans sent messengers to the king of the Huns to persuade him to reduce it, or kill him. But the ruler of the Huns was timely warned of that intention, and in wrath, the «Scourge of God» marched on Rome in 451. Two great armies confronted each other on Catalan plain, and by the evening of the second day the Romans retreated. And when Attila was standing at the gates of Rome, Pope Leo came out to him together with all the clergy, pleading to spare the cultural values of Christianity in the empire: the monuments of architecture, sculpture, book depository. And Attila pardoned Rome, taking only the contribution. These authentic historical events underlie the opera synopsis.

Apart from military actions, the story also has other subject lines — love and betrayal, courage and revenge, fictional characters along with the authentic ones : Foresto — warrior of Aquileia , Uldino — the slave of Attila , hermits.

According to the story, after the battle, the esquire Uldino brings over young captives to Attila, among whom is Odabella, who tells of her father’s death and believes that her fianc? Foresto is dead too . Struck by her beauty, Attila gifts her a sword. But the girl contemplates revenge.

The main parts sung in the new production that won the audience’s cheers were: of Attila ( Ildar Abdrazakov , bass ) , Ezio (Claudio Sgurev , baritone ) , Foresto ( Luciano Ganci , tenor ), Odabella (Anna Markarova , Honored Artist of Russia, soprano). Also brilliant were supporting roles — Uldino (tenors Jean Tapini and Beimbet Tanarykov ) and Leon ( bass Eskendir Abzhanov and Bolat Esimkhanov ), choral parts, which take up a significant part of the opera.

The work on the costumes and scenery was carried out in Italy and Kazakhstan. About 30 Italian lighting, stage and costume designers came over to Astana.

Decorations of Pier Luigi Pizzi were laconic and the production is characterized by cohesion of ethical and aesthetical style. The maestro believes that neither direction nor scenery should overlap music. Music gives a lot more than a fleeting amazement of the audience by gorgeous scenery. It remains longer in the hearts of spectators than the visuals. Laconism of the scenery provokes thought and a deeper penetration into the gist of the opera. The public should come to the theater of emotions that are transmitted through the music, performance.

Conductor Marco Boemi praised the proficiency of the theater’s team, enthusiasm of the young orchestra musicians, and dedication of the technicians.

“Bellissimo” and “Bravissimo- were the repeatedly uttered evaluations of the Italian masters.

The Attila opera will be followed by at least two grand events- international conference on modern opera art, the speakers in which are to be leading music and theater artists of UK, Italy, Spain, Russia , China, Kazakhstan , and a gala concert of Russian and foreign artists.