ASTANA – Singers from Astana Opera won in a number of categories at the international Arena di Verona competition in Verona, Italy, on Nov. 4-10. About 50 singers took part in the competition to win roles in the theatre’s upcoming productions.
Tenor Medet Chotabayev and baritone Sundet Baigozhin took first place in their nominations and won leading roles in Arena di Verona’s production of “La Boheme,” to be performed in the theatre’s Winter Hall during the 2014 season. Coloratura soprano Alfiya Karimova won a part in “Mary Stuart” by Gaetano Donizetti over the same season. All the performers took part in the gala concert that ended the competition.
The competition began with an assessment of the quality of competitors’ voices. It wasn’t an easy process, Baigozhin said. “All the members of the professional jury were surprised that Kazakhstan has such a good opera school. Paolo Gavazzeni, artistic director of Arena di Verona, said that he was very impressed with my voice and that my victory was deserved. This is a big victory for soloists of Astana Opera. The important thing for a singer is singing in the opera,” he said.
“The participants were of different nationalities. Everyone supported each other and were genuinely happy for the successes and victories of their competitors. I received a lot of proposals to cooperate with European agencies, but I refused, because I represent our Astana Opera. I want to dedicate my victory to the main theatre of Kazakhstan and to my teacher, Kanat Abdykadyrov, who is no longer with us,” Baigozhin said.
Gavazzeni invited lead soloist Baigozhin to listen to the part of Cecile, a baritone, in the theatre and perhaps to perform it there in the future. Director General of Arena di Verona Francesco Girondini is interested in cooperating with Astana Opera.
Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheatre in Verona built in the first century AD. It is the third largest Roman building of its kind in the country, after the Colosseum and the amphitheatre in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, and was built for 16,000 spectators. The theatre hosts performances by global opera celebrities. Due to its exceptional acoustics, it hosts annual summer opera festivals and international competitions.
Baigozhin will soon perform in Kazakhstan’s Central Hall in a concert dedicated to the work of composer Alexander Zatsepin. As part of the Thread Binding Times project, with the support of the Degdar Foundation, the singer has already given a concert for veterans in Kyzylorda. He will also perform in Taraz, Zheskazgan and Turkestan.