Two evenings at Astana Opera – Madama Butterfly

Nurmaganbetova Zhanna
10 February 2023, 09:47

Two evenings at Astana Opera – Madama Butterfly

ASTANA. KAZINFORM The love story of a Japanese geisha for an American navy lieutenant will be told at Astana Opera on February 11 and 12.

Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly demonstrates the collision of two worlds: Western and Eastern, which will be presented at the opera house by both masters of the vocal arts and young attendees of the Astana Opera International Opera Academy. Madina Islamova will make her debut in the title role, Sayan Issin will perform her beloved Pinkerton for the first time.

Madina’s creative work includes parts in both national and Western European operas, performed at Astana Opera. Madama Butterfly is a serious work that will become an important stage in the professional growth of the singer, Kazinform quotes the Astana Opera’s Press Office.

«At the premiere of Madama Butterfly in April 2016, I performed a small part of the main character’s Mother. This was my first opera performance. It is nice to remember that my first stage costume was designed by the Academy Award winner Franca Squarciapino. A few days ago I tried on Madama Butterfly’s costumes and saw my purple silk kimono, hugged it and thanked it – for six years I did not miss a single performance and was a permanent Mother, putting on my beloved costume. In my opinion, Madama Butterfly is the most beautiful production in our opera house, designed by the outstanding set designer Ezio Frigerio. A wooden house, a real sea and stone steps on a green hill transport artists and viewers to the distant city of Nagasaki, to the dreams of happiness of a little Japanese girl Cio-Cio-san,» Madina Islamova, the opera house’s soloist, shares.


In 2022, after working with an Italian vocal coach, the singer decided to try her hand at Madama Butterfly’s part.

«It should be noted that Madama Butterfly is one of the three most difficult parts in the soprano repertoire. I listened to the opinion of the Italian maestro, who advised me to take on this role. At the beginning of this season, I showed excerpts of the part at a lesson with Astana Opera’s chief accompanist, Yelena Sakhno. Ms. Sakhno was convinced by the sound of my voice, and she did a great job with me on the text, character interpretation, tempo and dynamic instructions of Puccini. Throughout the preparation for the new part, I feel the support of my colleagues in the opera house and I want to express my deep gratitude,» Ms. Islamova says.

«Cio-Cio-san is a beautiful, sincere, smart and charming girl. She knows how to carry on a conversation, how to arrange everything so that people around her feel happy and comfortable. At the same time, we notice that the heroine instantly appears categorical in her words and intonations when speaking about her beliefs. She prefers death to dishonor. Operas are written only about great love, so I believe that Cio-Cio-san truly loves. She saw flowers, the sea, and the spring for real for the first time only when she met her Pinkerton,» the singer concluded.

Tenor Sayan Issin, laureate of prestigious music awards, Astana Opera’s soloist and the Astana Opera International Opera Academy attendee, will give his first performance of the main part of Pinkerton.

«Pinkerton’s main vocal material is in the first act, full of ensembles and duets. In my opinion, its central part is very interesting, where the marriage scene takes place, acquaintance with cousins, aunts and the Bonze, whom Pinkerton drives out of his house. This act ends with a beautiful duet with Butterfly. The image of my hero is not entirely unambiguous. Pinkerton is a person who loves himself first and foremost. He is selfish, appreciates convenience and position in society. This is confirmed by his arrival in Nagasaki after three years of absence. Moreover, he is not alone when he returns. He is accompanied by his wife, Kate Pinkerton, whom he was married under the US law. And everything that has happened between him and Butterfly three years earlier in Nagasaki is just a game for him,» Saiyan Issin, the opera house’s soloist, explains.

«Pinkerton did not feel love for Cio-Cio-san. Their relationship was only a momentary weakness that overwhelmed my hero. Most importantly, his child with Cio-Cio-san, whom he had never seen during all this time, became a symbol of this «love». The tragedy and drama is that Butterfly could not endure Pinkerton’s return to Nagasaki with his lawful wife Kate Pinkerton and committed suicide. Perhaps this is the truth, the life for which you need to be prepared. In general, Puccini wrote his operas in the Verismo style, that is, something that was taken from life itself. The material is very easy to learn and perceive, it is not difficult to convey to the audience, because it is a vital, everyday language that reveals a great human tragedy,» the performer shared.

On February 12, opera stars, Honored Workers of Kazakhstan Aigul Niyazova and Medet Chotabayev, will perform Madama Butterfly and Pinkerton. On different days, Gulzhanat Sapakova and Tatyana Vitsinskaya will present Suzuki. Altynbek Abilda will debut as Sharpless, US Consul at Nagasaki. Ramzat Balakishiyev, Yerulan Kamel will perform the matchmaker Goro, and the Honored Worker of Kazakhstan Zhanat Shybykbayev and Bolat Yessimkhanov will portray the Bonze. Prince Yamadori – Talgat Galeyev, Kate Pinkerton – Saltanat Muratbekova, Yelena Ganzha, Mother – Aigerim Amanzholova (debut), Aunt – Assem Aubakirova (debut) and many others are also involved in the performance.

Ruslan Baimurzin will be conducting the performance, and the rehearsals regarding the debuts and orchestral corrections are held under his leadership.

The performances will begin at 5 pm.

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