If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

The first Kazakh opera

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The first Kazakh opera - e-history.kz
The first Kazakh opera, Kyz-Zhibek debuted in 1936 at the first ten-day Festival of the Arts of Kazakhstan in Moscow

The first Kazakh opera, Kyz-Zhibek debuted in 1936 at the first ten-day Festival of the Arts of Kazakhstan in Moscow. The heroes of this opera are both well-known to every Kazakh as Romeo and Juliet and to many Europeans. Composer Yevgeny Brusilovsky created his opera on an epic subject, but used as a basis lyrical songs that were recorded from folk singers and musicians, who would actually perform in the opera. That first production of the opera at 1936 festival was strung with the best pearls of lyrical folk music; the costumes shone with perfection and were striking for their ethnographic accuracy and the creators and performers were so inspired that it remains a classic today. It was the first time that operatic arias were sung on an equal basis with folk songs and accounts of those first performances are memories cherished by the older generation of Kazakhs. 

 With the birth of opera, the star of Kulyash Bayseitova, the silvery voiced natural coloratura soprano also rose. 

 During the time of the Great Patriotic War students of the newly established Women’s Pedagogical Institute half-starved and weakened would walk along the dusty streets to the Opera Theater carrying cloth shoes 

The 1944 opera Abay mentioned in Chapter 5 was devoted to the life of the great poet and thinker Abay Kunanbayev. It has become a beloved classic and productions of it can still be seen today. The gradual development of the young art of opera in Kazakhstan is perhaps best represented by the 1947 opera Birzhan and Sara by Mukan Tolebayev, who based it on the aitys. Tolebayev’s work was devoted to the poetic competitions and loves of notable bards. This was already departure from a citation opera based on the literal use of folk melodies. During those same years, the Kazakh epic also found its own realization on the stage as a genre of dramatic performance. The gala opening of Kazakh National Theatre took place in 1926. The talented director and playwright Zhumat Shanin worked there. Plays named after epic heroes such as Karakypshak Koblandy, Er-Targyn, Beket and Arkalyk that were produced in 1920s through 1940s still form a part of the repertoire of Kazakh theatre. Mukhtar Auezov created the popular play Ayman-Sholpan in 1934 for the Kazakh State Musical Dramatic Theater. Zhambyl Zhabayev Kazakh State Philharmonium was established in 1935. Its composition included Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, Kazakh Chorus, a dance ensemble and a large group of soloists singing folk songs and performing in musical instruments. 


 Used materials: 

«The soul of Kazakhstan», A.Kunanbay

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