ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed well-known and respected Toleubek Alpiyev as new director of The Astana Opera State Theatre of Opera and Ballet on Nov. 14.
Alpiyev is a graduate of the Almaty and Moscow conservatories and was a violinist in a number of orchestras in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He has also worked as managing director of the tour and concert association Kazakhconcert, director of the Zhambyl State Philharmonic, deputy chairman of Kazakhstan’s State Committee on Culture, and the nation’s Deputy Minister of Culture.
Since 2000, Alpiyev served as director of newly opened National Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Kulyash Baiseitova in Astana, where he quickly established the theatre’s creative groups and conducted significant organisational work in the first season. Awarded by the Kurmet and Parasat orders, since 2013 Alpiyev served as deputy director of Astana Opera.
Minister of Culture and Sports Arystan Mukhamediuly introduced the new director to the theatre company on Nov. 14. The minister thanked the opera’s first director Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov for his excellent work in launching what is meant to be a world-class artistic company based in the Kazakh capital. Mukhamedzhanov said he was proud of being part of the opera’s early history and thankful to President Nazarbayev for trusting him with the mission as well as respecting his desire to take a break to pursue his own creative projects.
For his part, Alpiyev noted the President’s sentiment that Kazakhstan needs to shape a culture that will keep pace with global trends and values and invited the theatre’s artists to jointly pursue that goal.
“We have enormous challenges ahead of us – a highly complex opera of ‘Aida’ and the premier performances of ‘Karagoz’ and ‘The Nutcracker’ ballets. The next year is going to be busy,” the new director said.
Astana Opera was founded in 2013 with the backing of President Nazarbayev. At the opening of the theatre, the President said: “A country that is building factories and roads creates a solid footing for years to come. A country that builds schools and hospitals takes care of the future of the nation for decades. The country that is building theatres looks forward through the centuries …”
Situated on the left bank of the Yessil River, Astana Opera House offers a striking addition to the skyline and some Astana visitors have said the opera house is on par with the world’s leading opera houses, such as Teatro Real in Madrid, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Professor Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov was the first director of the Astana Opera. Long known throughout Kazakhstan as a renowned composer, he is a winner of the State Award of the Republic of Kazakhstan and President of the International Association of Peace through Culture.
In less than two years, the Astana Opera has earned popularity and respect among local art-lovers and foreign guests for its splendid performances, having recently returned from a global tour that featured well-received performances in the United States, Canada, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, including at the Carnegie Hall and L’Opera Bastille.