Kazakh Pianist to Premiere Robert the Bruce Opera in Scottish Churches

ASTANA – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s PhD composer and pianist Rakhat-Bi Abdyssagin, from Kazakhstan, will premiere his one-hour opera, “The Bruce,” written for the 750th anniversary of the birth of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, in four landmark Scottish churches this year, reported the conservatoire’s press service on Jan. 23.

Photo credit: Official poster.

Abdyssagin will stage a new opera at Glasgow Cathedral on Feb. 17, St. Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh on Feb. 21, the University of St. Andrews, St. Salvator’s Chapel on Feb. 24 and Dunfermline Abbey on March 3.

Describing “The Bruce,” Abdyssagin said it is about “freedom and virtue, identity and power, struggle and stamina, irrepressible determination and indomitable will, triumph and destiny.”

Rakhat-Bi Abdyssagin. Photo credit: verlag-neue-musik.

“It tells the story of how one man is capable of making history, how one decision can dramatically change the life of the whole nation,” he said.

“The Bruce” has been composed as part of Abdyssagin’s doctoral research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of St. Andrews, with a libretto based on excerpts from the medieval narrative poem “The Bruce,” written in nearly 1375 by John Barbour in Early Scots.

“I have worked with leading linguists and historians to establish and investigate the historical context as well as a pronunciation of Early Scots and we have done a substantial amount of work on decoding the text in both a metaphorical and direct way,” he noted.

According to the release, the opera performances are free to attend, but tickets must be booked in advance. 

Abdyssagin, 24, is called the Kazakh Mozart. At 10 years old, he wrote music mature composers could be proud of. At 13 years old, he became an undergraduate student at Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory. At 17, he became a graduate student of Kazakh National University of Arts and completed an internship at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. At 18, he defended his master’s dissertation. At 20, he completed postgraduate studies at three prestigious universities in Italy.

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