The performance of the ballet troupe of the Kazakhstani theater “Astana Opera” “The Fountain of Bakhchisaray” was held on the stage of the State Kremlin Palace. Muscovites and guests of the capital saw the original version of the famous dramatic ballet by composer Boris Asafiev, the literary basis for which was the poem of the same name by A. S. Pushkin. The choice of this particular ballet is not accidental: this year the musical community is widely celebrating the 115th anniversary of the birth of the director of The Fountain of Bakhchisaray, the outstanding choreographer of the People’s Artist of the USSR and the Kazakh SSR Rostislav Zakharov. In addition, the tour of the Astana Opera in Moscow became a continuation of the Days of Culture of Kazakhstan in Russia and timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two fraternal neighbors and allies.
“Event in the cultural life of Moscow”
It is noted that the performance was a huge success. The artists came out to bow to the shouts of “bravo” and a standing ovation. Moreover, the audience appreciated not only the high performing skills of Kazakh dancers, but also the contribution of the world-famous Italian stage designer Ezio Frigerio, Oscar winner costume designer Franca Squarciapino, as well as the latest technologies masterfully used by lighting and projection artists – Vinicio Keli and Sergio Metalli. The scenery specially brought from Astana was also noted separately – the luxurious castle of the Polish prince Potocki and the rich decoration of the Bakhchisarai palace of Khan Giray, where the main events of the performance unfold, impress with their authenticity.
The performer of one of the main parts – the proud Pole Maria – Madina Basbayeva admitted to Profile that she was very worried, speaking on such a famous stage.
“I am very glad that here, in the Kremlin, I represent the Kazakh ballet and we have the opportunity to show all our professionalism. We have performed in different countries of the world and here we demonstrate that our Astana Opera is a high-level theater. It is especially pleasant that the Russian public always welcomes us very warmly,” Madina Basbayeva emphasized.
The Russian ballet critic Marina Talganova spoke about the highest performing skills of the troupe, calling the past performance a historical event and praising the Kazakhs for their serious, careful attitude to the choreography of Rostislav Zakharov.
“I am simply delighted with both the soloists and the part of Maria. These are world-class soloists. Excellent technique, lines, musicality and, of course, the general level of the troupe is very high,” she said. “This is a real gift and a great event in the cultural life of Moscow.”
“Continuing the intercultural dialogue between the two countries”
Commenting on the performance of her wards, the artistic director of the Astana Opera Ballet Company, People’s Artist of Russia Altynai Asylmuratova recalled that in 2019 they had already shown the ballet Scheherazade by Mikhail Fokin directed by Andris Liepa in the Kremlin. But this tour, according to her, is special.
“Firstly, in September, Rostislav Zakharov would have turned 115 years old. Secondly, this season is the 10th anniversary for the Astana Opera. Thirdly, it is the continuation of the intercultural dialogue between the two countries. And the fact that we are celebrating these dates on such a famous stage as the Kremlin Palace is especially pleasant and honorable. We are happy that we have this opportunity.”
Altynai Asylmuratova said that, despite the youth of the theater, today the troupe’s repertoire includes more than 17 titles of ballets by different choreographers. For example, the world premiere of the ballet Cinderella was recently held.
“The work is very interesting, although difficult,” admitted the artistic director. – We are trying to take our national staff and grow the future backbone of the troupe out of them. Kazakh dancers are artistic, hardworking, they want to learn, they strive to become the best. And this is very captivating. It’s a pleasure to work with them. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we have big plans for the future. Two more premieres should come out this season alone. In addition, very soon, in November, there will be an international festival of the Astana Opera Theater called “Silk Road” – within its framework there will be several ballet and several opera performances. We are waiting for the arrival of artists from different countries, including from Russia and Belarus.”
By the way, Altynai Asylmuratova, a graduate of the Leningrad Choreographic School named after Vaganova, is a world-class ballet star, she herself once shone on the best theater stages, including in the ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. According to critics, she is the best performer of Zarema’s part of the last 30 years, her performance is considered a reference.
At different periods of her creative career, Altynai Asylmuratova had guest contracts in such famous world theaters as Covent Garden, Grand Opera, La Scala, Marseille Roland Petit Theater, American Ballet Theatre, worked with outstanding world ballet choreographers. Heading the Astana Opera Ballet Company in 2015, she staged the ballets La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Giselle, a new version of Swan Lake, The Fountain of Bakhchisaray, Chopiniana and a number of concert numbers.
“Cultural exchange is more important than ever”
Yermek Kosherbayev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Russia, who visited the play “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”, called the performance of the Astana Opera a logical continuation of the Days of Culture of Kazakhstan in Russia. He recalled that in September Kazan and Astrakhan hosted tours of Kazakh national orchestras, dombrists and kuishi with great success, and Moscow hosted a grand concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the famous opera and pop singer, People’s Artist of the USSR and People’s Hero of Kazakhstan Roza Baglanova.
“In the days when we celebrate the Day of our Republic and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, the arrival of the Astana Opera ballet troupe in Moscow is symbolic. Theatrical, opera and ballet schools are quite well developed in our republic, and the Astana Opera is one of our leading theatres. We are proud of our artists and continue our cultural traditions with dignity,” the ambassador said.
According to him, a new generation of citizens has grown up in Russia and Kazakhstan, so today mutual cultural exchange is more important than ever.
“Culture is the basis of everything, including the basis of relations between states. Therefore, we believe that such an exchange will always help people get to know each other better and get to know each other. We hope that next year several leading Russian drama and opera theaters, dance groups will come to Kazakhstan with tours, and Kazakh groups will also come to Russia with pleasure and give concerts,” Yermek Kosherbayev said.