Shalyapin Festival starts with The Queen of Spades

Spectators unsuccessfully asked for ‘‘extra tickets’’

Shalyapin Festival starts with The Queen of Spades Photo: Maksim Platonov

International Opera Festival named after Fyodor Shalyapin opened on 1 February. It has been held in Kazan for the 35 th time and traditionally began to a full house. Spectators were offered the premiere of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's opera The Queen of Spades.

No. 1 event

Of course, Shalyapin Festival in Kazan is an event of the year in classical music. This year it gathered over 40 soloists and conductors from nine countries of the world. The playbill includes 12 plays and 2 gala concerts that crown the fest, as usual. All stars will be on the stage on these two days.

At the moment the first festival evening was marked by a snowfall and gathered a big number of people who want to enter the theatrical hall near the main entrance of Tatar State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after M. Jalil. Unfortunately, not all seekers managed to get long-awaited ''extra tickets''.

Not all seekers managed to get long-awaited ''extra tickets''

Shalyapin Festival's sound conservatism is good and strong. A traditional and quite an informative exhibition, tribute must be paid to its creators, dedicated to the great bass singer always gathers many curious people in the foyer. Here Zakhar Steinberg's quartet was playing. Whatever nuisances say about it, he certainly creates a festivity mood among spectators. Not only critics go to the theatre because it is their job but ordinary spectators do it. It is a special event they need to prepare for.

Shalyapin Festival is a big event for citizens of Kazan, those love classical music,'' musical critic Gyulyara Sadykh-zade from Saint Petersburg who has been at the festival many times thinks. In general, the media from the capital is interested much in Shalyapin Festival. Accredited representatives of Musical Life, Russian Newspaper, Izvestiya, Independent Newspaper, Moscow Komsomol, Petersburg Theatrical Magazine, the Mariinsky Theatre, Belcanto are now in Kazan.

Representatives of the Golden Mask jury work during the first two evenings. They are interested in the festival premiere of The Queen of Spades staged by Yury Aleksandrov. Their interest is clear: the previous staging of Tchaikovsky's opera in New Opera in Moscow caused a burst of debates due to its unclearness. It literally polarised the critics and spectators – vociferous opponents and vociferous supporters of Yury Aleksandrov's idea as a director.


The opening speech was said by Professor of the Kazan State Conservatoire Vadim Dulat-Aleyev

Who is lucky at cards

Traditional feature of the Kazan Opera is an opening speech before a performance. The author of these lines, although not an absolute fan of such presentation of performances, yesterday was absolutely agree with the presentation. The whole point is in an individuality who presents a play. Yesterday the audience was lucky: the opening speech was said by Professor of the Kazan State Conservatoire Vadim Dulat-Aleyev.

It is obvious to say that Dulat-Aleyev is erudite, as well as to remind that the Volga River flows into the Caspian Sea. The Professor, of course, know the material, but the main thing is the accuracy of presentation, the ability to find important details avoiding verbosity, the ability to emphasize the main point. One more thing: Dulat-Aleyev is very artistic and he always knows how exactly to configure the audience emotionally. So it was yesterday.

This time, Yury Aleksandrov when working on The Queen of Spades chose a classic concept and respect to the libretto, as well as to the music of Tchaikovsky. The same can be said about the interpretation of music director of Maestro Marco Boemi. The cards game in the play is the manifestation of one of the dark sides of human nature, while Countess is the center of a black funnel, swirl, addictive and ruining.

''When there is one opera theatre in the city, the classical version of the play is preferable,'' believes Gyulara Sadykh-zade. Anyway, from conversations of the audience during the intermission one could understand that the performance captured the attention, someone even uttered the phrase ''romantic thriller''. ''I'm looking forward to the final, I wonder how the director decides the scene of the death of Herman,'' a Kazan film director Alexey Barykin shared his impressions during the intermission. He shot a short but very informative film about the Kazan Opera some time ago.

The final scene in the gambling house was with tragic pathos, and the audience gave a standing ovation.

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By Tatyana Mamaeva. Photo: Maksim Platonov. Video: Kamil Ismailov