NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - International Museum Day is celebrated every year on May 18. Astana Opera has its own custodians of the memory of the leading figures of musical culture and the history of opera and ballet art. Every year, new exhibits are added to the opera house’s museum treasury, and bright, memorable exhibitions are held here every month, Kazinform has learned from the Astana Opera’s press service.
Museum Day appeared on the calendar in 1977, when at a regular meeting of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) it was decided to establish this cultural holiday.
The Astana Opera Museum was established much later, in 2013. Its founder was Apriza Khussainova, «Madeniyet Qairatkeri», member of the Presidium of the Expo&Women International Association. In the opera house museum, she collected documents, materials and personal belongings of prominent figures of the country’s theatrical art. Thanks to her, a piano that belonged to the Baiseitov family was added to the opera house museum. This historical instrument was transported from Almaty to Nur-Sultan in the baggage compartment of the Mangilik El train.
Household items, implements of creative work of Kazakh artists, essays about their busy lives, theatrical costumes that have historical value are displayed in the gallery of the Baiseitova Chamber Hall. All exhibits preserve the energy of past times with its rich and unique culture.
Many excellent exhibitions are held in the opera house today. Irina Kussenova, the successor of the Astana Opera museum work, says that about five different expositions adorn the opera house’s enchanting Marble Hall every month.
«We are working hard to popularize the opera house museum, to increase its attractiveness for the younger generation. Therefore, we try to implement new and unusual projects. For example, the viewers who attend the performances, before the bell rings, get acquainted with the exhibition dedicated to the particular opera or ballet that will be presented that evening. The exposition may include theatrical costumes made by world-famous designers (Franca Squarciapino, Sofya Tasmagambetova, Pavel Dragunov, Manana Gunia), props and photographic materials – portraits of the performers with a description of their parts,» Irina Kussenova said.
The museum worker noted that now a new, fashionable trend has already been formed for holding famous painters’ art exhibitions before performances. Thus, the public attends several events at the same time in one place. Most importantly, the viewers get educated, discovering for themselves new names of painters.
«In recent years, paintings by artists Naira Tumanyan (participant of the Venice Biennale), Arystan Smagulov, the artist who represented Kazakhstan at Expo 2017, and Expo 2022 in Dubai, talented artist Adilbek Shaikamalov have been added to the gallery. The Italian volunteer Roberto Boltri donated a book about an Italian in Central Asia. Mr. Boltri is also well known in the opera house because he helped a lot in organizing performances for our principal soloist Medet Chotabayev. We are also supported by Kazakhstani volunteer Margarita Vereshchagina. She has made a significant contribution to the creation of the museum’s archive. We also support young talented painters. For example, we held an exhibition of Renat Yelubayev, a finalist of the TV project «Extraordinary People», a winner of multiple international competitions held in Russia, Italy, Armenia, etc.,» Irina added.
The opera house plans to organize exhibitions, dedicated to Astana Opera’s work, in other cities of Kazakhstan. The aim is for the regional audience to get acquainted with set elements, costumes and props from capital’s popular productions, which are highly valued in the world and are regularly requested from the opera house administration by foreign partners.
Astana Opera did not leave out the youngest audience either. «Within the framework of the Year of Children, which is now taking place in Kazakhstan, we are preparing the second large exposition «Astana Opera’s Backstage Magicians». Exhibition handicrafts and drawings belong to the children studying in our Theatrical Crafts Studio. Little apprentices take their first creative steps under the guidance of experienced professionals, including Nazym Zhailaubayeva,» Irina Kussenova explained.
The everyday life of the opera house museum employee largely depends on the current repertoire, as well as significant dates in the work of cultural figures. Thus, Astana Opera prepared interesting expositions for the 95th anniversary of Gaziza Zhubanova and for the 110th anniversary of Kulyash Baiseitova. Incidentally, their value lies in the fact that unique exhibits are being donated by the relatives of legendary personalities. For example, Kulyash Baiseitova’s daughter, Karlygash Baiseitova, shared with the opera house rare photographs of her famous mother.
One of the most memorable exhibitions was dedicated to the recently deceased outstanding set designer Ezio Frigerio, who created dozens of unique productions for Astana Opera. It was based on his sketches of sets, photos from the opera house’s archive and books from the Teatro alla Scala dedicated to the Italian master were also exhibited.
It is important to note that many departments of the opera house are involved in the creation of expositions, including the Literary and Musical Department, Scenic Shop, Prop Shop, Wardrobe Department, as well as the Technical and General Departments. All employees invest a piece of their soul and great professionalism, so that the exhibition is held at a high level.
«I congratulate everyone on the International Museum Day and I am proud to say that many theatres are adopting our experience. We receive excellent reviews about our exhibitions from well-known international cultural figures, which means that our work is in demand and the museum work is back on trend,» Irina Kussenova concluded.