Soloists, dancers and musicians of Helicon opera and Astana opera participated in the closing gala of the Russian seasons in Kazakhstan

On 9 December the grand finale of the Russian Seasons in Kazakhstan took place. This was the gala concert Duet of Two Capitals, prepared by the Helikon Opera Theater under the direction of Dmitry Bertman jointly with the team of the Astana Opera, which hosted the gala. In 2023, the Russian Seasons project featuring more than 20 cultural events was held in Kazakhstan for the first time. The implementation of the project was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Aida Balaeva, noted in her welcoming speech that the Russian Seasons international project carries out an important mission that unites humanity:

“The international cultural project Russian Seasons was launched on stage of the leading theater of Kazakhstan – Astana Opera State Opera and Ballet Theater, which is the cultural heritage of our country, on 2 March this year. The project is rooted in Sergei Diaghilev’s  Russian Seasons that was founded and run by the great impresario at the beginning of the twentieth century and contributed greatly to the development and popularization of Russian culture. During 2023, our Russian colleagues presented a series of cultural events that left an indelible impression in the hearts of Kazakhstanis.

This is the key to close friendly relations between our countries. Indeed, culture plays a vital role in uniting humanity today. It unites people of different nationalities, religions, languages, allowing them to find common ground and understand each other. Culture becomes a bridge that connects different cultural groups and promotes intercultural dialogue and understanding.”

The concert Duet of Two Capitals was part of the closing ceremony of the Russian Seasons, organized by the Helikon-Opera Moscow musical theater under the direction of Dmitry Bertman together with the team of the Astana-Opera State Opera and Ballet Theater. The two wonderful conductors – the Сhief conductor of Helikon-Opera, winner of the City of Moscow Award Valery Kiryanov and conductor of the Astana Opera Ruslan Baimurzin – were leading the program.

“Musical art is a powerful force that invokes noble hopes and aspirations and awakens the most tender and sublime feelings in our hearts,” – noted Aida Balaeva,

Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Andrey Malyshev thanked Kazakhstan for the warm welcome throughout the touring year:

Russian Seasons opened an opportunity to bring the maximum number of the best Russian companies to friendly Kazakhstan and show our neighbors and friends the richness of Russian culture. I really hope that today’s concert dedicated to friendship between the two countries will not end our cooperation but is just a good start. I assure you that in any city in the Russian Federation we are always waiting for our friends from Kazakhstan with love and with open hearts. We have great, great plans. Good luck!”.

Astana welcomed Helikon stars – laureates of international competitions Yulia Shcherbakova, Valentina Gofer, Shota Chibirov, Maxim Perebeinos. They performed together with the soloists of the Astana Opera, among whom were Honored Workers of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zhupar Gabdullina, Saltanat Akhmetova, Azamat Zheltyrguzov, Medet Chotabaev and others.

“It is very important that in such uneasy times we enrich ourselves culturally. Russia is our neighbor, a brotherly country. And such cultural exchanges should happen often. Art has no boundaries,” said Azamat Zheltyrguzov, director of the opera company at Astana Opera.

The voices of soloists from Moscow and Astana merged in the famous duets from the operas by Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Rossini, Dargomyzhsky, Bizet, Puccini, Offenbach, and the Muscovites for the first time in their lives sang in the Kazakh language. The choir of the Helikon Opera, symphony orchestra, the choir and the ballet dancers of the Astana Opera took part in the concert. The gala was directed by the winner of the City of Moscow Award Ilya Ilyin and led by two conductors – the Chief conductor of the Helikon Opera, the winner of the City of Moscow Award Valery Kiryanov, and the conductor of the Astana Opera Ruslan Baimurzin. Master of ceremonies – Ksenia Lisanskaya.

The concert opened with Polonaise from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin. It was performed by the Astana Opera Symphony orchestra and ballet, and the final chord of the concert was the finale of Ruslan and Lyudmila by Mikhail Glinka performed by all participants of the concert. The program of the evening also featured Odabella’s aria from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Attila, Laura’s song Granada is Covered by Fog from The Stone Guest by Alexander Dargomyzhsky, Giacomo Puccini’s E lucevan le stelle from Tosca, the duet Don Carlos / Rodrigo from Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos, Couplets d’Olympia from Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Offenbach, famous urban romance Black Eyes and other musical pieces.

An exclusive exhibition of theatrical costumes Art Masquerade was displayed in the foyer of Astana Opera, and the spectators were offered an excursion around the exhibition. The project was developed by an artist from St. Petersburg Nika Velegzhaninova. The Kazakh capital’s audience enjoyed seeing theatrical costumes created according to sketches by Alexander Golovin, Lev Bakst, Mikhail Larionov and Sergei Sudeikin. These artists made a significant contribution to the formation of a new look at set design and costumes. Some costumes existed only on paper for more than a hundred years, and on 9 December they first decorated the foyer of the theater in Astana.

To reiterate, Russian Seasons opened in Kazakhstan in March with the Tchaikovsky Gala program of the All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by People’s Artist of the USSR Yuri Bashmet. During 2023, 20 events were held at various venues in the republic, including tours of the Eifman Ballet St. Petersburg and the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater, exhibition of the Russian National Museum of Music Planet Tchaikovsky, master classes and student performances from GITIS, exhibition of the St. Petersburg State Repin Academy of Fine Arts Figurative Art, performances of the State Academic Dance Ensemble Vainakh.

We express our gratitude to the general information partner of the project, the international news agency Sputnik Kazakhstan!

Sputnik – up-to-date information about events in Kazakhstan and the world. Follow the news on the website and telegram channel Sputnik Kazakhstan.

We also thank the official information partner of the Russian Seasons project, the Interstate Television and Radio Company Mir , and the radio partner of the Russian Seasons project, the Federal Radio Station Radio Russia.