Shalyapin Festival: premiere of Nabucco, soloist of Metropolitan Opera and very Donald Samm

It’s still possible to buy tickets to the festival

The F. I. Shalyapin International Opera Festival will traditionally open on the stage of the M. Djalil Tatar Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in February. Realnoe Vremya tells about the premieres that spectators will see and what soloists could be heard at this festival.

Ticket offices still have tickets

The day X for Kazan music fans was on 15 December – the sale of tickets to the F. I. Shalyapin International Opera Festival kicked off in the ticket office of the Tatar Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. The festival has been held in the capital of Tatarstan for the 36 th time. This year the festival is dedicated to the 145th birthday of great singer, our compatriot Fyodor Shalyapin.

According to Deputy Director General of the opera theatre Yury Larionov, this year prices start from 500 to 3,500 rubles. The latter price is for tickets to the gala concert where spectators can see all stars in one evening.

The highest price for a premiere play is 2,500 rubles. On 15 December, it was still possible to buy tickets in the ticket office of the theatre having joined the queue. Theoretically, they could be available during several days, but later one can count on an extra ticket, that's to say, on luck.

Sophisticated music lovers, as a rule, don't count on luck and stay in the queue early in the morning on the first day. There were maybe such people on that day. It should be reminded that Shalyapin Festival, which was founded in Kazan with Director of the Kazan opera theatre Raufal Mukhametzyanov who was at the origins, was the first USSR classical music festival in the past and launched a festival movement in the country.

The festival starts with a premiere of Verdi's Nabucco staged by Yefim Maizel. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Nabucco opens

The festival starts on 1 February, a premiere is traditionally performed on this day. This time it is Verdi's Nabucco. USSR-born but currently living in America Yefim Maizel stages it. He is the author of many opera stagings in the New World and he simultaneously works as an assistant in Metropolitan Opera, it often happens when operas of Russian composers are staged.

Maizel is a graduate of Directing Department of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, that's to say, he is a director by default who is craving for the creation of a psychological basis of a play. It is his second staging in Kazan, Trovatore was the first. Judging by it, one can note that the director cares about composers and librettists' idea.

The tragic story of wanderings of the Jews, tense love triangle Abigail-Ismael-Fenena – it all gives freedom to the director's fantasy. And we can suppose we will see a bright play where human fates are fatally intertwined. Boris Statsenko, Sergey Kovnir, Andrey Valenty, Oksana Kramareva, Aleksandr Trofimov will perform the main roles in the future play. Nabucco will be shown at the festival twice – on 1 and 2 February.

The Kazan opera theatre already had Nabucco in its playbill. It was staged by Italian director who is currently living in Germany, Denis Krief. So it will be interesting to compare this vision of Verdi's opera of two different directors.

Boris Godunov will be traditionally performed at the festival in the evening on Shalyapin's birthday after the requiem service in Epiphany Cathedral. Photo: Roman Khasayev

Ten plays and two gala concerts

In general, this year's playbill has ten plays and two gala concerts with the same programme. Apart from Nabucco, one can listen to Rigoletto, La Traviata, Turandot, Aida, The Barber of Seville, Porgy and Bess, Boris Godunov and Queens of Spades.

Boris Godunov will be traditionally performed at the festival in the evening on Shalyapin's birthday after the requiem service in Epiphany Cathedral where the future genius was baptised and flowers to the monument to the singer are laid. The choice isn't accidental – Boris Godunov was one of Mr Shalyapin's best roles. Soloist of Metropolitan Opera Mikhail Svetlov-Krutikov will be on the stage in this role at the festival. Spectators can also hear him in Shalyapin's another role three days before the festival – Basilio in The Barber of Seville.

A concert performance of Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess is another staging we'd like to mention. Porgy and Bess isn't performed in Kazan very often because it's not easy to gather performers for this play. We can say that this year Gershwin's fans are lucky, especially because a favourite of Kazan spectators dark-skinned Donald Samm from Great Britain will be Sportin' Life.

This year's playbill has ten plays and two gala concerts with the same programme. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The programme of the gala concert is kept in secret, but the list of participants has already been almost formed. Soloist of the Kazan Opera Theatre and Bolshoi Theatre Mikhail Kazakov, his colleagues from the Bolshoi Theatre Nina Minasyan, Igor Golovatenko, soloists from the Mariinsky Theatre Akhmet Agali and Sergey Semishur, Sergey Kovnir from the National Opera of Ukraine and many others will be among them.

And the icing on the cake – amazing jazz pianist Daniil Kramer is participating in the gala concert.

By Tatiana Mamaeyva