Voice of Opera House
In every city, pretending to be worthy, there is an opera house. And not the only one if the city is big or “theatrical”. Drama Theater – is certainly, children theater – is almost certainly, puppet theater, operetta, shadow show, little theater with their audience. In our city there are two drama theaters, also two children and youth theaters, three puppet theaters, German theater, Korean theater, Uigur theater of music comedy, art theater “Art and Shock” - this list may be continued.
And in every capital there is, undoubtedly, an opera and ballet theater. Even, if this is a “former” capital.
It all began in 30-th years of the last century when the capital was transferred from Kzyl-orda to Alma-Ata. At that time I still did not have “home”– wandered from one club to the other with my troupe. But the troupe was really distinguished. Of cause, it was formed with the help of the whole world, to be exact, of the whole Soviet Union. Teachers, composers, conductors from Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev worked. Performers were the pearls of the ballet and opera classics. And established the own. Eugeny Brusilovsky created in 1934 opera “Kyz Zhibek” and this opera was performed by our actors in the First Decade of Kazhak Literature and Art in Moscow, in 1936. Gulbahram Baiseitova performed the part of Zhibek. Tender, inimitable voice, the sound of harp of heaven’s virgins, picking the strings with fairy fingers – beams of the winter sun, crystal bell, gentle and clean. “Gak-ku”, “gak-ku” - high in the sky, ducks flying to the South, leave home to return in spring. “Gak-ku”, “gak-ku” - sang Kulyash in a tout voice, like a bird flying to the sky. Our Kulyash had become the youngest USSR people’s artist.
And finally, a special house was built in the capital - Opera and Ballet Theater, my “home”. It had been constructed for five years and almost finished, a very little more left when the war began. The art was hardly in need. But yet, the building was finished and the house opened on the 26th of October of 1941 year. There is a saying: “When guns speak, muses keep silent” – but it’s not true, muses were not silent. And even if their voices were not louder than the bomb explosions but they were stronger. My scene witnessed the best performers. Gouges ballet dancer Galina Ulanova was dancing at my scene. The artists on my scene made the victory closer: gifted hope, faith and love.
Miserable rear allowances, the theater was hardly warmed, poor light: cold, starving. I remember, before the performance, the actors were sitting in their make-up rooms, muffled in something, and it was ice in the windows. But when the third bell had rang, the shawls and coats were thrown off, curtains drawn off and the magic dawn off on scene. For wounded from hospitals, for evacuated and local, for those who arrived from front on leave and for those who was going to front. Evening after evening, year after year.
Plenty of performances were staged in my “home” during the half of century, plenty of wonderful actors performed in my scene. The theater was closed for repair at the turn of two centuries. For long time. It was opened after…yea..and now I feel myself there not like a voice, but like a spirit. Voice spirit. Perhaps it’s my “vocal” maturity or wisdom. Say as you wish, but I like it.
The ticket story told by the Voice of Opera:
Ruslan was about six years old and his birthday had to be on the 20-th of April. He was already a big boy and he also had a big dream – to become an artist. And not simply an artist, but a ballet artist, a dancer. And not simply a dancer, but a Great Dancer. Such as Nikolay Tsiskaridze. All time that left from the kindergarten, Ruslan spent playing computer games or watching TV. On TV programs he has chosen ballet, the only ballet.
His birthday was getting closer: father and mother, sister and aunt were preparing gifts. But Ruslan was thinking: “again, he would get cars-toys as presents,” and it made him sad. His sister Zarina in order to cheer up her brother, informed him that parents were going to present him a real phone with built-in camera. Ruslan just made a deep sigh: “I don’t want any phone”.
Zarina rushed to the mother and said that her brother did not want any phone and let them buy phone to her, on her birthday. The parents had discussed this and in the evening the farther asked his son:
- Ruslan, what present you would like to get for your birthday? Ruslan still not believing in his fortune, asked:
- Daddy, take me to the theater on my birthday to the ballet performance. I swear, I would behave well!
- Son, how are guests? And it may happen that the pallet performance will not be on that day?!
- Daddy, let guests come on the other day, and I am sure that it will be a ballet performance, and it will be on my birthday!
Promise is promise, and next day during lunch time the father went to buy tickets. When he came to a box-office he asked:
- What is on 20th of April, opera or ballet?
- Ballet,- he heard from box-office.
- And do you have tickets?- asked father.
- Yes, - calmly answered the lady from the box-office, - two more left in the fourth row, two in the six row and four in sequence in the seven row, but on the skirt – please, choose.
- I need four, please.
- You shall pay forty thousand tenge.
- How much?! - father was amazed.
For long time father did not go to opera theater and he did not have any idea about prices and seats. So he thought that if he asked tickets for seats which were not in sequence, it may be cheaper, then he asked:
- Ok, then give me the tickets, not these four in sequence, but those two plus two in different rows.
Booking clerk picked up tickets from the ticket book and said:
- Eighty thousand.
- What-how much?! – father was shocked to the very bones, - well, what are the prices, this is a half of my monthly salary. What is the cost of one ticket?
Booking clerk showed the farther layout plan of the theater with tickets prices.
- Six thousand in the balcony?! - A cry broke from father’s lips.
- Only six thousand, - the lady made a stress on the word “only”, - But those tickets were sold in the first day...
- Why???!!!- cried the farther.
- Lady in the window lifted up her eyes:
- Why, didn’t you see a theater bill, didn’t you watch TV and read newspapers? On twentieth we have “Nutcracker” in our stage. It is the only performance and Tsiskaridze HIMSELF will dance a leading part there.
Name of this dancer she pronounced with particular aspiration as if she opened a secret of her first and the only love. Father had wiped a sweat from his forehead:
- This will be my son’s birthday, he will be six years old. He is asking to take him to the theater… Give me two tickets, please. And those, to let him the best view.
- Than, the best shall be the fourth row, - smiled lady in the window giving the tickets, - normally our tickets are not so expensive. This price is only when stars come here. Congratulations!
Father brought home two tickets, told the whole story to mother and mother decided that son shall go to the ballet with Dad.
The birthday had come, and there was the scene, and there was a magic performance, and there was a pleasance, and there was a great happiness.
In the night, when Ruslan, tired from the impressions and discussions, fell asleep, father said to his wife:
- You know, Alka, it was…, it was…, it… Let’s go to the theater. What do you want, ballet or opera? Tomorrow I will go and buy tickets.
Mother had laughed and hugged father.
Elena Klepikova 2013
We have elaborated special virtual tour to travel across the festival map. Currently there are 18 spots to explore and to get familiar with the city. There will be more spots to explore soon.
Have nice trip to Almaty!