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Mysteries of Ancient Pharaohs Staged at Astana Opera

The Astana Opera marked the Capital Day celebration with a large-scale production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida masterfully staged by the outstanding director and designer Franco Zeffirelli. The world opera masterpiece was presented at the opera house’s Grand Hall as part of the Operaliya International Festival on July 5 and 6, the press service of Astana Opera reports.

Aida in the playbill is always a great cultural event for the entire capital. The Astana Opera’s viewers had the opportunity to see Franco Zeffirelli’s outstanding production of Aida that at one time opened the theatrical season of the Teatro alla Scala and caused delight throughout the entire Europe.

On July 5 and 6, guest stars from different countries around the world took part in the festival, and Maestro Dian Tchobanov from Bulgaria cut a brilliant figure at the conductor’s stand on both days. The guest artists also included famous opera singers from Italy – tenor Diego Cavazzin, who performed the main male part of Radamès, and mezzo-soprano Isabel de Paoli, who took the stage as the proud Princess Amneris. The celebrated baritone from Mongolia, Badral Chuluunbaatar, masterfully portrayed Amonasro.

«I first performed this part in 2019 at the Arena di Verona, and it became a golden key for me in the wonderful world of music, which also opened the doors of the new Astana Opera. I have a lot of friends and colleagues here. It so happened historically that our peoples have always been together, so it was a great honor for me to sing in front of the people of Kazakhstan. The warm welcome given to me today shows that the audience here is finely versed in classical music and in the highest quality productions. This is not my first performance on your stage: in 2021 I also took part in the opera Aida by the great stage director of all time, Franco Zeffirelli. As then, Amonasro is close to me in spirit, because I am also a warrior by nature,» Badral Chuluunbaatar noted.

His colleague Diego Cavazzin also said backstage that it is a great pleasure for him to participate in this wonderful festival. «Aida is a very complex work, especially in technical terms. The opera requires deep study and colossal concentration to show the various emotions of the protagonist. During the performance, I always remember Maestro Muti, with whom I perfected all the nuances, preparing once for my debut. I remember many years ago, when I was just starting to study, I went to the Arena di Verona to listen to Il Trovatore staged by the great Franco Zeffirelli. I was so impressed by the production that I decided to pursue a career as a singer and one day I was able to work with this great genius. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to perform Aida on the day of your premiere in 2014, in your wonderful capital, but now it is a dream come true,» Diego Cavazzin shared his emotions after the performance.

«It was a great honor for me to present Amneris at an international festival of this magnitude. Amneris is the defining part for a dramatic mezzo-soprano. It is a combination of technical and interpretive complexities requiring the use of a wide vocal range. Her character is full of contrasting facets: she is strong and sometimes capricious, at the same time she has a tortured soul, madly in love with Radamès, but not receiving reciprocity from him. Amneris, along with several other roles in the mezzo-soprano repertoire, represents one of the most difficult parts ever conceived. It can only be taken up after a long process of learning and maturation. To perform Amneris in this historical production is a blessing. Created by the immeasurable genius of Franco Zeffirelli, this performance left an unsurpassed beauty and perfection mark in the treasury of world operas. Aida is a particularly precious gem… performing this opera is like an immersion in that reality, so far away, but at the same time so close. I am infinitely glad that I took part in it,» Isabel de Paoli said.

Two hundred people were involved in the cult production – opera soloists, male and female choirs, ballet dancers, orchestra, supernumeraries. To imagine the scale of the work, we emphasize that the number of operating crew backstage is equal to the number of performers.

There were also debuts: the opera house’s principal soloist Aigul Niyazova took the Grand Hall stage for the first time in the title role of Aida. Principal soloist Talgat Galeyev made his debut as Amonasro, the opera soloist Galina Cheplakova as the High Priestess, and the Astana Opera International Opera Academy attendee Valeriy Selivanov as the King of Egypt.

Acclaimed Kazakh vocalists, the Astana Opera’s brilliant soloists Zhupar Gabdullina, Gulzhanat Sapakova, Yelena Ganzha, Sayan Issin, Bolat Yessimkhanov, Shyngys Rassylkhan, Ramzat Balakishiyev presented the heroes of the performance on these days. Principal choirmaster is Yerzhan Dautov, ballet master is Galiya Buribayeva, assistant directors are Natalya Kagadiy and Nikolai Kulikov, the opera company director is Azamat Zheltyrguzov.

As a reminder, the world opera masterpiece was presented with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan within the framework of the Operaliya International Festival.

Source : Kazinform