ASTANA – Verdi’s masterpiece “Aida” premiered Nov. 19 on the stage of the Astana Opera.
Preparation took just over a month, as the staging involved all the technical possibilities of the scenes. Important visual effects that created a colourful show were a big surprise for the audience at the end of the performance.
Between the first and second acts, all the performers completely changed their costumes, wigs and makeup for just a few minutes. Massive and complex multilayer and multi-storied scenery grew and disappeared in front of the theatre goers by means of new technologies available in the metropolitan theatre. The number of technical staff behind the scenes was almost equal to the number of performing artists. Experts believe that only a few theatres in the world, the Astana Opera among them, can afford to create such a performance.
The cast included American soprano Christine Lewis as Aida, which in the second part was played by Zhupar Gabdullina. Walter Frakkaro was Radames, followed by Gustavo Porta, Yekaterina Gubanova was Amneris, played in the second and the third parts by Dina Khamzina and Marina Prudenskaya, and the role of Amonasro was played by Luka Salsi and Alberto Ghazal in the second part.
The music for the famous opera was written by Giuseppe Verdi, with libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni.
The production was staged by Canadian musical director Keri-Lynn Wilson, Italian director Franco Zeffirelli and costume designer Maurizio Millenotti and Kazakh chief choirmaster Yerzhan Dautov and choreographer Tursynbek Nurkaliyev.
“For reasons related to my age, unfavourable weather conditions and a long flight, I will not come to the premiere of the Astana Opera. I hope that it will find a new audience, gaining a new and eternal life in the Kazakhstan theatre. I would like to convey my warmest wishes to the metropolitan theatre and the Kazakh public, which I’m sure will become a permanent and happy audience of the Italian opera. I call ‘Aida’ one of the best performances that I have ever been able to create in my career,” wrote Zeffirelli before the premiere.