Scheherazade Captivated Moscow

The Astana Opera Ballet Company performed with great success at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow. The Russian audience appreciated the skill of Kazakh dancers, as well as the truly Eastern flavor of Michel Fokine’s famous ballet Scheherazade to the music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. This production was included in the repertoire of the capital’s opera house at the initiative of the Artistic Director of the Astana Opera Ballet Company People’s Artist of Russia Altynai Asylmuratova. The performance was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Astana Opera Ballet Company brought forth a storm of applause from the Moscow connoisseurs of high art. The crowded hall gave a standing ovation for the artists, accompanying their bows with shouts of ‘Bravo!’

Renowned impresario Roberto Giovanardi shared his impressions after the performance.

“In a word, fantastic company. Altynai Asylmuratova did a wonderful job. The dancers are marvelous, very high-level production. I had the pleasure of attending their performances in Italy. The Italians know the Kazakh company; everybody goes to see them. They know the Principal Dancer Bakhtiyar Adamzhan, who has recently performed in Rome. This winter we saw them perform Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Seeing their new production was a great joy, the production is excellent!”

Gala evening was attended by famous ballet and theatre critics.

Alexander Firer, a well-known and respected theatre critic from the Muzykalnaya Zhizn magazine, said that the Astana Opera Ballet Company is in excellent form.

“It was an amazing interpretation of the ballet Scheherazade, wonderful soloists. In particular, the Principal Bakhtiyar Adamzhan is a world-class dancer, and young artist Anastasia Zaklinskaya is an absolutely charming girl, she is enchanting, temperamental, musical, graceful. Marvelous production, the company performs it brilliantly. What they did today and how they danced was all superb. Everything is rehearsed very well. A huge work was done by the Artistic Director Altynai Asylmuratova. And Andris Liepa, the ballet master of this production, certainly did a great job. You can be congratulated with performing on this stage.”

Pavel Yashchenkov, a theatre critic from the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, which has the largest circulation in the world – three and a half million, also highly praised the Astana Opera’s performance.

“Incredible impressions. We all know Altynai Asylmuratova – she is a world ballet legend. As a reviewer, I study what is happening in the world, in particular, I follow the Kazakh ballet. I see that the Astana Opera is turning into one of the leading companies, thanks to Altynai Asylmuratova. What we saw today was truly amazing.”

Julian MacKay, laureate of five international ballet competitions and Kelvin Kou scholarship holder, as well as Tatiana Melnik, Principal of the Hungarian National Ballet, and other gala program participants expressed professional opinions that converged on one thing – that the Astana Opera Ballet Company has great prospects, each of the dancers has a great talent, they will undoubtedly reach the Olympus of high art.

“I admire Bakhtiyar Adamzhan’s skill. The first time we met was in Rome, I think that at his level the critics’ opinions are unimportant. I heard about the Astana Opera, saw the photos, and I admired the beauty of its halls,” Julian MacKay noted.

Built on the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Astana Opera provided creative teams with an opportunity to undertake many high-level artistic projects, as evidenced by the great success of the ballet company at the Kremlin Palace.

Principal Dancer, Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, Kazakh ballet star Bakhtiyar Adamzhan has stirred special admiration of not only critics and colleagues, but also the audience. The dancer’s airborne jumps, Eastern plastique, charisma and intellectually precise pantomime movements won the ballet critics’ hearts. Bakhtiyar Adamzhan lived his part, demonstrating remarkable command of his role from the acting standpoint. It can be said without a doubt that this is a world-class dancer.

His partner, the young, beautifully proportioned Soloist of the Astana Opera Anastasia Zaklinskaya performed the part of Zobeide. Sensual, graceful, almost weightless, she delicately moved around the stage. The dancer managed to convey not only the mood of her heroine, but also deep psychologism and drama of this role, creating a balanced character interpretation.

Tall, stately Zhanibek Imankulov and Ildar Shakirzyanov presented Shahryar and Shakhezman. Their facial expressions, gestures were very convincing, and the hall caught their every emotion. A striking dancer Olzhas Makhanbetaliyev was in the role of the Chief Eunuch. Odalisques – Adelina Tulepova, Yerkezhan Zhunussova, Aimana Tazhibayeva, Eunuchs – Ruslan Temirbekov, Olzhas Anuarbek.

It is important to note that the Astana Opera tour took place at the invitation of the ballet master of this production, the founder of the Maris Liepa Charitable Foundation – People’s Artist of Russia Andris Liepa. Incidentally, Andris Marisovich was as the evening’s host and director.

First part of the gala concert Vaclav Nijinsky. God of Dance took place within the framework of Andris Liepa’s project Autographs and Images with participation of world ballet stars. Among them: Principal of London’s Royal Ballet Vadim Muntagirov and Daria Klimentova, Yulia Makhalina (Mariinsky Theatre), Tatiana Melnik (Hungarian National Ballet), Eleonora Sevenard (Bolshoi Theatre of Russia), Brooklyn Mack (Washington Ballet), Denis Rodkin (Bolshoi Theatre of Russia) and others. The dancers presented fragments from the ballets The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, The Talisman and others. The second part was given to the Kazakh company, which has enraptured the Moscow audience with its performance.

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