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Politician, poet and cultural ambassador: Giancarlo del Monaco presents cinematic Abay Opera

Giancarlo del Monaco. Photo © Karla Nur Giancarlo del Monaco. Photo © Karla Nur

In September, Italian stage director Giancarlo del Monaco will be presenting a new version of the famous Kazakh opera Abay written by Akhmet Zhubanov and Latif Khamidi at Astana Opera, Tengrinews reports.

Giancarlo del Monaco has an extensive experience in staging national operas. He gained recognition while working at the Metropolital Opera where he directed Stiffelio, Madama Butterfly, Simon Boccanegra and La forza del destino. For Verdi’s La forza del destino or The Force of Destinity, the Italian stage director earned an award from the American Institute of Verdi Studies at New York University.

The director has thoroughly studied the history of Kazakhstan to prepare for the work on the Abay opera. Italian stage director is not seeking to re-create the image of the greatest Kazakh poet and philosopher, but rather to communicate spirituality of Abay’s complex identity.

“Abay is very important to Kazakhs. He embraced creative, social, political and cultural roles. Looking into the future, he always thought about the destiny of the people. He was one with the people. Abay was generous towards ordinary people and shared his knowledge. He was known to be fluent in Persian, Arabic, Russian and other languages. He could read foreign literature in the original language. I will also present Abay as a strong political persona. He represents one country, meaning he was a politician, or to be precise, he was involved in cultural politics. Here, a composer is less dangerous than a poet, because the latter posses the power of words. Abay possessed an enlightened heart. He carried his culture representing all Kazakhs,” del Monaco said.

Kazakhstani Alan Buribayev will be the conductor of the Abay opera. Maestro Buribayev successfuly presented Abay in Europe in 2012. The conductor reincarnated the author’s original idea by editing the original version and getting rid of mistakes.

Italian masters Ezio Frigerio and Franca Squarciapino were invited to work on the stage design along with Kazakhstani specialists. According to the stage director, he had a lengthy discussion with stage designers on presenting a unique interpretation of the famous opera and showcasing contemporary Kazakhstan.

The Abay opera in del Monaco’s interpretation strives for cinematic effect. The stage of the Astana Opera will be opened to the maximum, which has not been the case previously. The opera will employ all possible technical capacities of the stage along with 3D installations to bring beautiful cinematic experience. 

Giancarlo del Monaco's powerful Abay opera premiers in September at the Astana Opera. 

By Gyuzel Kamalova

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