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Home - Culture Legacy - Cultural institutions - ASTANA OPERA – THE PRIDE OF KAZAKHSTAN

ASTANA OPERA – THE PRIDE OF KAZAKHSTAN

The State Opera and Ballet Theatre “Astana Opera” was founded on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2013. “A country, that builds factories and roads, creates a firm foothold for years to come. A country, that builds schools and hospitals, takes care of the future of a nation for decades. A country, that builds theatres, looks forward for the coming centuries…” Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the official opening of the theatre.

Situated on the left bank of the Ishim River, the Astana Opera House is striking in its splendor. The Astana Opera is on a par with the world’s leading opera houses, such as La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Metropolitan Opera in New York among others.
The theatre is situated on a plot of almost 9 hectares. The building itself is 64,000 square metres. Of these, about 3,000 square metres is the stage area. The Astana Opera House impresses not only by its scale, but also by its architectural refinement. It is constructed on the basis of the best classical architectural traditions and entwined therein, are Kazakh national motifs. There is a portico at the Astana Opera main entrance, which is decorated with two sculptural compositions, “A Kobyz Player” and “A Girl with Zhetygen” sculptured by M. Mansurov and T. Yermekov. Quadriga, installed on the top of the theatre exterior, is the image of the Saki queen Tomiris driving a chariot (sculptured by Kanat Nurbaturov).
The vestibule, the lobby, auditoriums and the main stage are built in a high-style architectural classicism. The Main Auditorium seats 1,250 people and the Chamber Hall seats 250.  According to its technical capabilities, the Astana Opera is on a par with the world’s famous opera houses and sometimes exceeds them.
All the premises, including auxiliary spaces (the backstage, various workshops, huge warehouses and numerous rehearsal rooms) and all the theatrical mechanism, conform to world standards.

Two wings and the backstage are located next to the central stage. The scenery is put together in a large backstage area, where it is pre-assembled. Dimensions of the stage enable to utilize its space for simultaneous accommodation of several ready-made sets. Technology organized in this manner will allow up to three stage sets, not counting the one that is already placed on the stage, to be fully prepared for stage performance (opera, ballet, play, concert etc.) at the same time. With the help of a forklift, this scenery moves from one platform to another, which provides a quick and easy change of scenery. The orchestra pit is designed for 120 musicians and, if necessary, can be used to expand the stage area. The Theatre’s chamber music hall can accommodate 250 people. It is designed for chamber music concerts, performances of various music ensembles, chamber choir, or small symphony orchestra performances etc. A team of leading experts from Italy and Germany worked on the acoustics; as a result, a unique sound characteristic is achieved. Today, everything is done to ensure that the creative content of the theatre in no way concedes to the splendour of its architecture. Even now, classical opera and ballet masterpieces, as well as modern performances by world-class artists adorn the stage of the Astana Opera House. On 21 June 2013, the opera “Birzhan-Sara” written by the great Kazakh composer M. Tolebayev officially opened the first season of the Astana Opera. In the autumn of the same year, the inauguration of the Astana Opera House took place. The theatre was presented to the world community with G. Verdi’s “Attila”.

The first season featured the premieres of the following ballets: “The Sleeping Beauty” by P. Tchaikovsky, staged by Yuri Grigorovich, a choreographer with a worldwide reputation; “Romeo and Juliet” by S. Prokofiev, staged by the famous French choreographer Charles Jude; and also the modern ballet “Rodin” by the famous Russian choreographer Boris Eifman. In the first season, the Astana Opera took part in co-productions with European teams, such as the Teatro dell Opera di Roma, the Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, the Mariinsky Theatre, the Opera Bordeaux and the Eifman Ballet Theatre. Aptly so, the prophetic bird, Samruk, is represented on the building gable of the new theatre. According to the legend, the giant mythical bird that looks like an eagle and lives on top of the tree of life Baiterek, is a mediator between our world and beyond. The new theatre has already opened a children’s studio ensuring the development of artistic taste and culture. The magic wand of theatre art will hence be handed from generation to generation for many years to come…