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Franco Dragone to direct Kazakh folk opera Kyz-Zhibek

Photo © Marat Abilov Photo © Marat Abilov
A Kazakh tragic folk legend opera Kyz- Zhibek will be directed by Franco Dragone in
Astana Opera theater, Tengrinews reports citing the theater director Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov. Franco Dragone is known as one of the finest directors for his work with Cirque du Soleil and as the director of the upcoming 2014 World Cup opening ceremony. The 16th century Kazakh folk legend Kyz-Zhibek tells a tragic love story of brave Tolegen and beautiful Zhibek in a time of bloody feuds. It was staged for the first time in 1934 in Abay Opera House in Almaty by Yevgeniy Bruselovsky and Gabit Musrepov. This is the first time Kyz-Zhibek will be presented in the newly built
Astana Opera in Astana. "Franco Dragone is coming to (Astana) to direct Yevgeniy Bruselovsky’s Kyz Zhibek opera. It is the first time the opera will be directed by such a talented and internationally acclaimed person,” Mukhamedzhanov said at a press-conference in Astana. Italian director Franco Dragone, 62, has worked with legendary Cirque du Soleil from Montreal and Celine Dion on her “A New Day” show. In the beginning, according to the theater director, it was planned to stage Mozart’s The Magic Flute, but Dragone “took the initiative” and suggested directing Kyz-Zhibek himself. “For Dragone, it (Kyz-Zhibek) became a challenge of its own. We had sent him the materials for the opera, and he has already immersed himself in the Kyz-Zhibek music. He has already learned about the story and the legend itself,” said Mukhamedzhanov. The opera house management has started auditions for the Kyz Zhybek role. Mukhamedzhanov hopes to find new talents and calls on women from the age of 18 to 32 with music education and good voice to take part in the audition. “We hope to find new talents, like Abay Opera House once found Nurzhamal Usenova, now Kazakhstan’s national artist,” added the theater director. Astana residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the new staging of Kyz-Zhibek in April, 2014. The director himself is coming to Kazakhstan on February 2. By Altynai Zhumzhumina

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