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The Abai Kazakh State Academic opera and ballet theatre was opened on January, 13th, 1934 by musical performance “Aiman-Sholpan” on libretto of Muhtar Auezov. In it national songs and kui, processed by Ivan Kotsyk sounded. The success of performance was grandiose. All country learned about a birth of new theatre.
Certainly, the opera theatre is a child, first of all of enthusiasts, figures of the literature, composers, writers, artists, actors with good vocal data, all life devoted to service to an opera, one of the finest arts. These people have become history of national culture. Their activity found the continuation all these 70 years, being enriched and developing. Their names are known, loved and remembered by fans of classical music , they for a long time become coryphaeuses of musical culture of Kazakhstan: actress Kuljash Bajseitova, director Zhumat Shanin, the singer and director Kurmanbek Zhandarbekov, the singer, the director and playwright Kanabek Bajseitov, the dancer of Shara Zhienkulova, singer Manarbek Erzhanov, artist Anatoly Nenashev, writers Muhtar Auezov, Gabit Musrepov, Sabit Mukanov,Beimbet Mailin, composer Evgenie Brusilovsky.
Inspired by success of the first performance with even greater creative passion actors-singers, the directors-persons of natural gifts who had no vocational training, undertook creation of opera repertoir of theatre. Brusilovsky was the first composer of the theatre who began national opera art of Kazakhstan. Following performances were: ” Kyz Zhibek ” (1934), “Zhalbyr” (1935), ” Er Targyn ” (1936).
In 1935 on the basis of the Kuibyshev opera theatre Russian opera troupe was created. The professional collective for short term (1936-1937) carried out nine performances of Russian and world opera classics. They are “Carmen”, “Evgenie Onegin”, “Queen of spades”, “Demon”, “Faust”, “Aida”, etc.
In 1938 ballet of Tchaikovsky ” Swan lake ” began creation of ballet troupe. Further there were performances “Koniok-gorbunok”, “Raimonda”, ” the Bakhchsarai fountain “. Recently the first Kazakh ballet ” Kalkaman and Mamyr ” of V.Velikanov was put on stage.
Close dialogue of Russian and Kazakh opera troupes helped the Kazakh opera singers to seize vocal culture successfully. In repertoir of the theatre there were operas “Prince Igor”, “Boris Godunov”, “Ivan Susanin”, “Mermaid”, “Dubrovsky” , “Cherevichki” and others.
The theatre has passed huge way – from simple one-voice national song to a symphonic orchestra, to chorus, to opera and ballet items, from national music al playing to finished musically-vocational establishment.
The first big success of opera theatre took place in days of Decade of the Kazakh literature and art in Moscow in 1936. Opera ” Kyz Zhibek ” with Kuliash Baiseitova in a leaging role had great success. The singer obtained a unusual recognition. All newspapers dazzled with enthusiastic responses about new theatre and about its singers. Kuliash Baiseitova , the first singer-Kazakh lady, received the title of the national actress of the USSR.
National ballet, vocal and drama branches in the Moscow conservatory and other educational institutions of Russia were created for updating the theatre by new more professional staff. Their graduates: Baigali Dosymzhanov, Anuarbek Umbetbaev, Rishat and Muslim Abdullin, Shabal Beisekov, Kauken Kenzhetaev, Mukan Tulebaev and others.
Before Great patriotic war in repertoir of theatre 31 opera (from them 9 Kazakh) and 6 ballet (2 Kazakh) performances were available.
In 1941 the theatrereceived the honorary title Academic. Within war the theatre divided with people all its burdens. Nevertheless, despite of all complexities, construction of a new building of theatre, (architect N.A.Prostakov, T.Basenov) which became the most beautiful and large construction of Alma-Ata was finished. The first performance took place in a new building on November, 7th, 1941. In difficult military years the theatre carried out a number of new performances ” Zaporozhets beyond Danube “, “Othello”, “Mazepa”, “Ivan Susanin”, etc. At the same time to Alma-Ata many art workers and arts from all Soviet Union were evacuated. Then at the theatre Galina Ulanova with ballet “Zhizel” worked.
1944 was marked by a birth of the Kazakh opera “Abai” of A.Zhubanov and L.Hamidi, the libretto of M. Auezov. It was, undoubtedly, the great creative success, it has been the basic in repertoir of the theatre till this day.
To the 100 anniversary of the great Kazakh educator, the philosopher, the humanist, poet Abai Kunanbaev, the theatre of opera and ballet received name Abai.
The art management of theatre gave the big attention to repertoir. Operas Russian, European and Kazakh were put. Many of them have quitted the stage, not having sustained check by time. Others were included into gold fund of the Kazakh music, such, as “Birzhan and Sara “. It is remarkable, that those years such performances as “Evgenie Onegin”, “Chio-Chio-san” and others went in the Kazakh language.
The fifties were marked by occurrence of the professional musicians who received special higher education – Ermek Serkebaev, Rose Dzhamanova, Era Eponeshnikova, Z.Rajbaev, S.Kusherbaeva. The new page of history of the theatre began. Gradually from a role to a role, from an image by the image, improving the skill, getting experience, they became the “stars” of an opera and ballet genre recognized by masters of a stage, favourite by people. With greater success they acted not only in our country, but also in many countries of the world. Having passed the big career, possessing huge scenic experience, they and to this day are instructors and advisers at the theatre. All time there was a work above new performances. They are “Dudarai”, ” Tolegen Tohtarov “, “Pebble”, ” The Sold bride “, “Troubadour”, ” The Imperial bride “, “Traviata”, “The Seville barber “, “Rigoletto”, “Snow Maiden”, ” Ruslan and Lyudmila “, “Morozko”, “Charodeika”, “Demon”, ” Romeo and Juliet “, ” Don Juan “, “Bohemia” ,” Hoffmann’s Fairy tale ” and others.
New performing forces came to theatre. They ares V.Iakovenko, B.Ashimova, M. ?usabaev, N.Karazhigitov, S.Umbetaliev, R.Bajseitova, Z.Kasteeva, G.Esimov, A.Dnishev, E.Isakov, R.Zhubaturova, H.Kalilambekova, R.Bapov, S.Bajsultanov, G.Tutkibaeva, M. Tukeev and others. New performances were carried out: “Nazugum”, ” Sadyr palvan ” of K.Kuzhamjarov, “Zhumbakkyz” of S.Muhamedzhanov, “Alpamys”, ” Kamar sulu ” of E.Rahmadiev, “Enlik-Kebek”, “Kurmangazy”, ” The Legend about a white bird “, “Hiroshima” of G. Zhubanova.
Historical, political and economic events of the country could not be nonreflected in repertoir of the theatre at all. There were years of great enthusiasm, but also the stagnation period remained in memories. The reorganization time, time of transitive economy and policy played its role.
In 2000 general reconstruction of the theatre came to the end. Favorable conditions for work of collective were created. Today on a stage of the well-known theatre, continuing its rich traditions, singers M. Muhamedkyzy, N.Usenbaeva, D.Baspakova shine. And also such known soloists, as B.Skakov, S.Abilov, M. Shalabaev, L.Dorohovskaja, L.Alpieva, D.Sushkov, K.Sarkytbaeva, U.Kenzhebekov, S.Ishchanova and others.
The modern Abai Kazakh State academic opera and ballet theatre ia leader of musical art of Kazakhstan. At the moment it is the largest theatre of the Euroasian territory. In structure of creative collective of theatre – the glorified masters of a stage and young talents-winners of the various prestigious, international competitions, obtained a world recognition. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Turkey, China, the USA and other countries clapped to masters of a stage of the Kazakh theatre of opera and ballet. The theatre aspires to close cooperation with other theatrical collectives of the different countries, inviting on performances not only separate executors, but also the whole ensembles of actors. Annually the theatre organises international festival of opera and ballet art.