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Eugene Onegin to Take the Stage at Astana Opera

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Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s outstanding opera Eugene Onegin, based on Alexander Pushkin’s eponymous novel in verse, will be presented on December 2 and 3 as part of the Zhibek Zholy International Festival. Guest soloists Konstantin Brzhinsky (Helikon-opera, Russia), Alexander Mikhniuk and Daria Gorozhanko (Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus), Barseg Tumanyan (Armenia) will perform the main roles. The Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan Alan Buribayev will be conducting the performance, Delovoy Kazakhstan reports.

Eugene Onegin is rightfully considered one of the world’s best operas. Both young and experienced singers were invited to perform the main parts in the production. Among them is Konstantin Brzhinsky, soloist of the Helikon-opera Moscow musical theatre. The capital’s audience will have an opportunity to listen to his performance of Onegin on December 3. The powerful baritone’s repertoire includes over two dozen parts, including Figaro in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Prince Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades and Robert in Iolanta, Shchelkalov in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.

The soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus Alexander Mikhniuk will perform Lensky on the second day. A graduate of the Belarusian State Academy of Music, he learned his character during his studies, but every time he goes onstage, thanks to his growing life experience, he adds new colours to his portrayal.

“Lensky is my first part, the first step as a budding opera singer. At one time I performed many art songs by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I really like his musical style, it suits my voice. The texts occupy a large place in the works of this author, so it is important to find a balance between it and the melody,” Alexander Mikhniuk says. “As for my Lensky, for me, there are three pillars on which I relied: Pushkin’s Lensky; the text of the opera, adapted by Tchaikovsky, and Lensky as a real person, what he would be like, if he existed in reality. My hero is something in between these three: a lively, emotional person who is aware of himself.”

According to the soloist, every new performance is always a test.

“I love challenges, I love working with a conductor and a stage director whom I did not know before. From the performance at Astana Opera, I expect a good acting and singing ensemble, interesting emotions and a festive mood, because a performance in a new city, in a country that I have never been to before, is always a celebration,” he notes.

On December 2, mezzo-soprano from the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus Daria Gorozhanko will take the stage as Olga. The repertoire of a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory includes Laura from Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Flora Bervoix from Verdi’s La Traviata, Lyubasha from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar's Bride, Konchakovna from Borodin’s Prince Igor.

“Tchaikovsky and Pushkin, what could be better?!” the singer says. “The opera Eugene Onegin, like all of the composer’s works, occupies a special place in my heart thanks to my Alma Mater. This work became my graduation performance, and with it I made my debut at the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus. In my opinion, Olga is lighthearted, artless and direct. On the one hand, she probes the limits of what is permitted, like a child, and she loves to be naughty, but not from malice. On the other hand, she wants to show that she is already an adult.

According to the performer, she loves her heroine for her desire to unite everyone, and is grateful to her for helping to develop and expand the boundaries of creativity.

“I am looking forward to the first meeting with the Kazakh audience with great wonder and excitement. I hope that my Olga will be liked and warmly received,” Daria Gorozhanko emphasizes.

The opera Eugene Onegin was first staged at Astana Opera three years ago by the Italian director Davide Livermore. The music director and conductor of the production is the Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan Alan Buribayev. The set designer is Francesco Calcagnini. Costume designers are the Honoured Workers of Kazakhstan Sofya Tasmagambetova and Pavel Dragunov. 

In the performances presented as part of the international festival, residents and guests of the capital will have an opportunity to enjoy character interpretations of: Onegin – the Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Talgat Mussabayev and Konstantin Brzhinsky, Tatyana – the Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Aigul Niyazova and Galina Cheplakova, Lensky – the Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Medet Chotabayev and Alexander Mikhniuk, Olga – Daria Gorozhanko and Tatyana Vitsinskaya. The Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Margarita Dvoretskaya and Gulzhanat Sapakova will perform Larina, Gremin – Barseg Tumanyan and Yevgeniy Chainikov, Saltanat Muratbekova will perform the Nanny, Triquet – Ramzat Balakishiyev, and the Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan Zhanat Shybykbayev and Yerzhan Saipov will perform Zaretsky, Rotny – the laureate of the State Youth Prize Daryn Shyngys Rassylkhan and Nurlybek Kosparmakov.

Eugene Onegin will be the final opera production presented at Astana Opera as part of the Zhibek Zholy festival program. The festival will continue with a gala concert featuring arias, duets, scenes from operas by national and Western European composers performed by Astana Opera’s soloists, choir and orchestra, as well as guest soloists from Armenia, Tatarstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

DKNews International News Agency is registered with the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Registration certificate No. 10484-AA issued on January 20, 2010.

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