Albina Shagimuratova: ''Could I say 'no' to Gergiyev?''
The M. Glinka International Competition of Vocalists opens in Kazan
M. Glinka International Competition of Vocalists opened in the White Hall in the Kazan City Administration on 11 April – solemn sounds from the overture Ruslan and Lyudmila performed by the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra notified about it. More details in Realnoe Vremya's report.
''Professionalism is the most important thing''
The draw, which took place in the M. Jalil Tatar State Academy Opera and Ballet Theatre on 11 April, dragged for almost 3 hours – aspirants for awards from 14 countries of the world participated in it, the total number of competitors is 234 people. The opening itself was in the White Hall in the Kazan City Administration – a landmark site where Fyodor Shalyapin sang and Sergey Rakhmaninov performed when place once was a building of the Nobility Assembly.
The opening ceremony was preceded by a briefing some jury members took part it. Albina Shagimuratova, she is chairing the competition's jury, met with journalists first. Moreover, she is also a laureate of many prestigious competitions, including the M. Glinka competition.
''I am very glad that Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov replied to my request to revive the competition named after Glinka. It's the oldest competition in Russia, and I am also a laureate of the first award, I got it as early as under Irina Arkhipova in 2005. I saw her be so passionate about the competition, and assuming the responsibility and becoming a jury chairwoman was a tough decision for me because I am also an artist going to tours and giving concerts. This is why many thanks to the Ministry of Culture of Tatarstan and Minister of Culture Irada Ayupova, special gratitude to Valery Gergiyev, you can't imagine how much he helped me to host the competition in Kazan. He also supported me when talking with Minister of Culture of Russia Vladimir Medinsky. And I hope that the Glinka competition will put down roots in Kazan, though I can't guarantee this now – everything depends on how well it will be held. But the foundation has already been laid,'' Albina Shagimuratova said.
In answer to Realnoe Vremya's correspondent's question who factored in Shagimuratova's decision to charge herself with organising the competition and becoming the jury chairwoman, the singer replied: ''Valery Gergiyev factored, he provided strong cases – the competition is in Kazan, the Tatarstan president will support me, the republic allocated the most sum to host the Glinka competition, though there is federal support, too, but it's less. I couldn't say 'no' to the maestro.''
Jury member, outstanding singer Irina Bogachyova, People's Artist of the USSR explained the jury's criteria: ''Voice is the first thing we will pay attention to. A singer's acting skills are the second criterion because a singer must be an actor, too. A singer is uninteresting even if he or she has a wonderful voice but no acting talent.''
Despite her age, the Mariinsky Theatre's soloist Bogachyova still has a wide repertoire, and she still sings. For instance, this season she has performed the part of Countess in The Queen of Spades by Aleksey Stepanyuk on the Mariinsky stage. When asked what helped her stay in excellent artistic shape, Bogachyova replied it was professionalism. If a person is a professional, he or she will work for long.
Epigraph from Mikhail Glinka's music
The competition's opening was in the white and golden hall of the City Administration. It was decided to make as less official as possible, and charming Yulian Makarov was the host of the ceremony. The Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra occupied its seats, Aleksandr Sladkovsky waved the stick, and bravura sounds of the overture to Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila opera filled the hall.
''The overture from many people's favourite childhood opera is a kind of epigraph to the Glinka competition. It's the beginning of the discovery of new names in music, which will soon adorn the world's opera stages,'' this is how Yulian Makarov began the opening ceremony.
Official speeches were short – vice speaker of the parliament Rimma Ratnikova conveyed Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov's congratulations to the competition's participants and jury. The head of the republic's support helped host this vocal competition in Kazan and, in fact, revive it.
Minister of Culture Irada Ayupova found a successful poetic fit and wished the competitors inspiration and soul tremor, the one Natasha Rostova felt at the first ball and reminded so that young count Leo Tolstoy was in the Nobility Assembly's balls in Kazan. Albina Shagimuratova noted that she hadn't expected such a big number of applications, and it proves that the competition is necessary and it must live.
The jury occupied the first raw in the hall. Apart from Albina Shagimuratova and Irina Bogachyova, Olga Borodina, Larisa Gergiyeva, Marina Mescheryakova and others sat there. And then a big concert programme awaited for the audience that young soloist of the M. Jalil Tatar State Academy Opera and Ballet Theatre Venera Protasova opened who performed Gilda's aria from Verdi's opera Rigoletto.
Aleksey Tatarintsev, Askar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina were among the participants of the concert. But Irina Bogachyova's performance who had three performances and a signature aria of the Countess showing the mastery the competitors should aspire for was the milestone of the programme.
The jury began the audition of competitors of the first stage in the Saydashev State Big Concert Hall on 12 April. It will be auditioning 70 people for three days, and it will take 12 hours every day. The elimination rate is supposed to be high – only about forty people will go to the second stage.