Recently, Kazakhstan became home to Alfiya Karimova, who was sinning on the platforms of the best theaters in Russia. Currently, she is proud of her work at the new Astana Opera. She considers great art to be a great sport. New victories and achievements are made only through hard work and a discerning eye. “Directing Theatre” and the 21st century made significant adjustments to the requirements pressed upon opera artists, expanding their functions in performances. A fragile diva, owner of coloratura soprano, shared her opinion on what is necessary today for performances on the opera stage.What do you expect from working at the Astana Opera?
I expect a lot of music, a lot of new and interesting encounters, but the main meeting for me is, of course, meeting with the Astana audiences that had already seen me. I sang in Astana, performed at concerts and participated in the competition of Bibigul Tulegenova, where I won the Grand Prix, I was really glad for this. It was a great honor and pleasure to be invited to work at the Astana Opera. I am filled with a sense of pride over my new job at this theatre.
What do you consider the biggest achievement in your life?
I think all of my greatest achievements are still ahead of me, because I am a person who is not used to resting on oars. A couple of days are required to realize another victory, then I again want something new to learn and to sing and move ahead. I am a kind of unofficial champion in competitions, I have had 29 of them already, both successful, and not. I believe that rises do not happen without falls. All of them were productive for me, first of all, it is an experience and priceless gift.
How do your fans follow your art?
I have lots of them both in Russia and Kazakhstan. I had an interesting case in Europe. This is the fourth year I have been invited to perform in Ibiza, Spain – a place of pilgrimage for disco fans, but at the same time it is a place where an international festival of classical music takes place. Singers, musicians, orchestras, ensembles, and I, as a resident, have my own audience there. Once just after another solo concert I was flying to Barcelona. I already passed passport control, was waiting for boarding, and suddenly a woman who passes the passengers on the plane, asked me to show her my documents. I thought something was wrong, and she looked at my passport, enthusiastically exclaimed, “This is you, you Alfiya Karimova? Yesterday I was at your concert!” It was very nice.
Who guided you in your quest to become an opera singer?
My mother has always been a great support to me, her biggest dream was either to become a dancer or to choose a musical profession, but her fate was in philology. My mother is a very intelligent person who knows the repertoire of all our theaters, both drama and opera. She knows world music very well, she can sing Violetta’s aria from the opera “La Traviata.” She is a big fan of classic opera . Of course, she influenced my choice. I am still grateful to her that she did not insist on anything, she supported me in my wish to study professional music when I was ten. My first dream was to become a ballerina. We came to the School of Dance, we were told to come in January, but later I told my mom that I want to study in the Music School on the piano. I graduated as a pianist and later graduated from the Ufa College as a choral director, and the Institute of Arts. As a student in the second year, I was accepted to the opera theatre as a soloist, that was a shock, responsibility, and a new, interesting job. I am grateful to the people who have given me such an advance, because I think that for a singer, it does not matter what you learn in the classroom, the real work is on the stage and is more important.
From your point of view, are career and family compatible?
I manage to combine them. My son is three and a half years old. My husband is also a colleague of mine – a soloist of the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Abay – Bolat Zhomartov. My son’s name is Nursultan. If our son wants to sing, we will support him. In our profession, no one should make people do something; no one should insist, no one should control. It is necessary to help. Family for me is work, but enjoyable and I draw inspiration and strength from it.
What is your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from life experience, it so happened that I play the role of heroine-mistress, and I have dramatic roles as well. Life is not only roles, not only love, triumphs, sometimes serious losses occur, of course, you pay attention to all of that. Great passion for the profession, attention to detail, the work never stops. When I finish rehearsing, I start to think about what make-up and hair I would like. I am not a designer, but I have my own point of view on everything. I believe that everyone should go about their own business, but it is always necessary to come to a consensus and make personal adjustments. After all, truth is born in dispute.
As a creative person, are you upset with little things in life, are you a person of moods?
I’m quite emotional and sensitive to all. But our profession requires not only sensitivity, but also callousness. It is necessary to have a very serious nature to preserve and develop what you have. I think it is necessary to be modest, that is humble and not do bad to others, to bring good, to bring light, the most important thing in life.
In order to sound better, is just hard work enough? Or it is necessary to adhere to a certain diet and eat certain food that affects the sound of voice?
If it was in the products, everyone would be brilliant singers, it is just work. The older I am, the more I learn from my colleagues, the better I understand that from a small material – I mean voice – without remarkable abilities, it is possible to make an international career. It is necessary to develop a hardworking mentality, in general, an opera singer hosts a complex of various qualities. But the main thing is, of course, hard work and almost fanatical devotion at work.
Do you remember a contest that required a lot of effort?
Each competition has its stages and tasks. At the time of my first competition – I was very young and it did not matter much to me. When I became older I realized that this is a big responsibility, all competitions are tough, nothing comes easy, there are no miracles, especially in our profession. To achieve results, it is necessary to learn, work and work some more and after that quantity will become quality.
Your future plans?
To enter into the Astana Opera star system and participate in new performances.
How do you relax? What do you need to relax the soul?
I love to bathe, I go to banya and never refuse it. I am attending fitness classes, it plays a very important role in my life. Sport makes one more beautiful and healthy. When the body is beautiful, you become stronger and more cheerful. I consider yoga a constant journey. Yoga classes take a lot of work on stretching and breathing. I’m projecting all this on my profession – inhale, exhale, breathing exercises, which is everything for an opera singer. A kind of parallel to the great art and great sport that requires constant self examination. I have a new test now – work at the Astana Opera, I think I can do it all.
Wishes to the theater, to your theatre?
I wish for a permanent full house and people love opera and ballet and enjoy the magnificent architecture and luxury. I wish my colleagues creativity and inspiration, I hope we can do it all. I’m in shock by the beauty of the Astana Opera building. On the one hand, it is all modern, the arc kept a balance with the historic national colour. I think that everything is done to ensure the singers and musicians feel good.