"Astana Opera" presents Night at the Apothecary

"Astana Opera" presents Night at the Apothecary
Фото: astanaopera.kz 16.04.2024 10:09 864

Oftentimes, following modern trends, residents of different countries are offered to spend the night at the museum. Astana Opera, on the other hand, showed in bright and interesting colors, how it was possible to spend the night at the apothecary almost 200 years ago. The production of Donizetti’s comic opera Il Campanello premiered with great success at Astana Opera’s Kulyash Baiseitova Chamber Hall on April 11 and 12,El.kz cites astanaopera.kz.

Despite the fact that all participants in the opera were the Astana Opera International Opera Academy attendees, the production cannot be called a “student performance”. The high professional level was felt in the vocal performance, as the singers’ voices sounded truly clear, and they also demonstrated their multifaceted talents with their acting skills as well. The young artists brilliantly handled the difficult tasks of the stage director Nikolay Kulikov. 

His bold decision to show the production in the ancient street theatre format could not have been any more successful. Full of energy, the academy attendees perfectly mastered the expanse of the stage, making almost acrobatic movements, moving on chairs in the manner of Charlie Chaplin, dancing, kneeling down, in general, completely surrendering to the action. It was clear that they received great pleasure from it. 

Let us remember that Gaetano Donizetti completed writing the music and libretto for the comic opera Il Campanello in 1836. In the process of creating this masterpiece, the classic enjoyed his composing “discoveries”, the lightness and cheerfulness that filled the entire score. The opera quickly became popular and entered the repertoire of many opera houses around the world. 

The plot of the opera is simple and funny: the venerable apothecary Annibale and his young wife, beautiful Serafina, are about to have their wedding night. However, Serafina’s former romantic interest, young Enrico, plans to prevent the apothecary from entering his wife’s bedroom. He tirelessly rings the bell and comes to Annibale’s apothecary’s shop under various guises, pranking his rival with the ingenuity of a real lover. 

Vocal teachers, Zhupar Gabdullina and Azamat Zheltyrguzov, prepared two casts of performers. Valeriy Selivanov as the apothecary Don Annibale Pistacchio delighted the audience with his impeccable vocal mastery with especially resplendent deep bass color and powerful lower notes. Firuza Rakhmetova, who performed the role of Serafina, the apothecary’s wife, demonstrated excellent vocal skills in both solo and ensemble scenes. As Enrico, Jurica Jurasić Kapun and Bekulan Yerbolatuly superbly handled the portrayal of Serafina’s lover, with ease and humor overcoming the challenges conceived by the stage director. Thus, lying on the floor and squealing funnily, Enrico threw his arms and legs up, while the apothecary’s young wife, not noticing the hero, walked to the opposite part of the room straight across him. 

Petite Anastasia Remeskova as Madama Rosaimpressed with her wonderful mezzo-soprano. Her voice literally enveloped the entire auditorium. Nursultan Anuarbek and Merei Kadyrkhanov as the servant Spiridione added comedic nuances to the performance, lifting the mood at some moments with exaggerated acting and loud laughter. 

The visual part of the production is a special atmosphere. Costume designer Dariga Taishikova created striking attire that reflected the spirit of the ancient street theatres, fully unveiling the artists’ characters. Thanks to the vision of the set designer Gulmira Issemgaziyeva, viewers were able to feel like they were in the 19th century apothecary’s shop, when the living quarters were also part of the same building. Wooden display cabinets filled with flasks and jars were adjacent to the dining table and bed of Don Annibale Pistacchio. All this created a cozy and at the same time working environment, which is unusual for the modern audience. 

The orchestra under the baton of the music director and conductor of the production Ruslan Baimurzin sounded masterful, complementing the overall atmosphere of fun and playfulness of the performance. It should be noted that one of the most famous operas in the world is performed in all opera houses in an abridged version. However, we can proudly state that the full version, accompanied by an orchestra, is presented only at Astana Opera. 

We can say with confidence that the academy attendees have perfectly mastered the opera buffa staged as part of the Piccolo Theatre project, created by Astana Opera five years ago. The premiere of the opera Il Campanello was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Overall, it left an unforgettable impression, giving the audience a lot of positive emotions. Thanks to talented performers, a creative staging concept and Donizetti’s magnificent music, the production became a bright and memorable event in the theatrical life of Astana.

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