The house where one of the interpretations of the international project GENESIS happened

We continue the series of stories about the international project Genesis. Recall that we decided to make an information series about the participants and events of this project in real time.October 16-22, 2023 in Bishkek (the Kyrgyz Republic) at the National Academic Theater ofOpera and Ballet named after A. Maldybaev, the first international festival of contemporary ballet Genesiswill be held.

The theater has become home to another interpretationof the project Genesis.

Our second participant is Almazbek Istambaev, General Director of the Kyrgyz National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Maldybaev. Let’s get acquainted:

Almazbek Istambaev is a graduate of the Kyrgyz National Conservatory.

In the period from 2000 to 2019, he was an artist and vocalist of the Kyrgyz opera troupe, who performed lead vocals in productions of world European and national classical masterpieces: Goro (“Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini), Monostatos (“The Magic Flute”by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Triquet (“Eugene Onegin” by P.Tchaikovsky), Talkhek (“Koroghlu”by Uzeyir Hajibeyov), Matteo Borsa (“Rigoletto” by Giuseppe Verdi), Le Remendado (“Carmen” by Georges Bizet), Arlekino (“Pagliacci”by Ruggero Leoncavallo) and others.

Almazbekis also a laureateof international competitions and an active participant and co-organizer of various concerts and music festivals of great social, political and international significance.

— How did your cooperation with composer Baruch Berliner, producer Nachum Slutzker and Baruch Berliner’s Genesis International Project start?

I met Baruch Berliner and Nachum Slutzker thanks to the conductor Mikhail Kirchhoff, who proposed co-organization of the project Genesis (the Creation of the World). First, we implemented the project in the Kyrgyz language. The idea is that the text of the Old Testament is read in the language of the country in which the concert takes place, and since the Bible has been translated into at least 700 languages, it was not difficult at all.
Then we presented the Symphonic Poem in Russian at the RukhOrdo Сultural Сenter on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul.The text was read by Assol Moldokmatova, a well-known TV presenter, producer and organizer of many charity projects in our country, who literally mesmerized the hall from the very first minutes.The concert was a huge success and received a lot of good, positive reviews.

Therefore, knowing the material, its creators and watching the success of the work (it has already been performed in 31 countries of the world), I gladly accepted the offer of producer Nachum Slutzker to stage a ballet to this wonderful music in our theater.

— What interested you personally in the project Genesis? How does the main theme of the project (Creation of the World, Man, Good and Evil), embodied in various stylistic genres from a symphonic poem to a show, resonate with you?

Now the world is in such a critical situation that we must return to the origins. All basic universal ideas are the foundation ofthe scriptures of all religions, which united nations. The fact that Bible verses were set to music is a very good experiment.

The struggle between good and evil is not only the eternal theme of many works, but also the daily choice facing each of us. Figuratively speaking, to be Cain or Abel is the inner choice of a person, his readiness to follow his attitudes and ideals, and also to bear responsibility for this.
One of the main tasks of any theater is to give the audience the opportunity to think about our life, about its meaning and about its purpose, and the Symphonic Poem “Genesis” in this regard is an ideal material.

In addition, staging a ballet on such a serious topic, working with an international company and a famous choreographer is a challenge for us, an opportunity to raise the bar of professional excellence, an opportunity to join the global ballet community.

— How was the work on the new production carried out and how did the theater troupe accept it? How did you come up with: scenography, costumes, light, and sound?

The troupe immediately showed interest in staging a new contemporary ballet.The choreographer of the Mariinsky Theatre Dmitry Pimonovworked with us.It was interesting for our team, they gained invaluable experience and motivation for professional growth.

Dmitry came to our theater during the entire production process, and before the premiere, he came to us for almost a month and prepared the troupe for the premiere, and together with the project manager Eugeniy Atsapkin and our colleagues worked on the creation of costumes, lighting solutions and video art for the production.

The costumesketches were designedby Dmitry Pimonov together with Tatyana Astakhova (St. Petersburg).We wanted to make the costumes modernbut at the same time fitting into the storylineof the Old Testament.

Dmitry Pimonov and EugeniyAtsapkin approached the creation of costumes very seriously and were directly involved in the search and selection of materials, working with our sewing workshop and other masters, fully controlled the process and delved into all the nuances of production.

The work with the scenery was not easy, but fruitful.

Initially, we planned to use classical scenery, but shortly before the premiere, our theater began to cooperate with a company that is engaged in video projections, supply of equipment and screens. We decided that it would be much more interesting to make video scenery, moreover, the ballet itself is not classical, and we are not limited by any tradition.

Eugeniy Atsapkin took part in the creation of video projections, he suggested making the video series more abstract, and it worked perfectly.

— What did the new production bring to the life of the theatre?

For the theatre, this is aninteresting experiment and a new choreography.The most important thing is that the ballet dancers themselves really liked the production. The theater opened its new page of modern choreography with this performance.

In addition, we had a great experience and an excellent production, with which we went on tour, and we plan to continue in the falland winter of 2023, andstrengthened ourties with Baruch Berliner’s Genesis International Project. Alsowe are going to take part in various festivals, and, of course, we will show the ballet at the first international festival “Genesis Ballet Festival”, which we will hold in October in our theater together with Baruch Berliner’s Genesis International Project.

— How was the tour of the theater with the ballet “Genesis” in Russia?

We visited Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Cheboksary and Moscow and everywhere we were greeted with loud applause.In the first part we showed the ballet “Genesis”, and in the second part – the first act from the ballet “Mother’s field”.
This is a huge merit of the whole team: Nachum Slutzker, Dmitry Pimonov, Eugeniy Atsapkin, the ballet troupe and the theater management.

Together we carried out such a project after which our ballet troupe cheered upbecause this is the first big tour of our theater in recent years and the opinions of critics have proved that our theater can perform at a high level and adequately represent Kyrgyzstan on the world stage.


Source: ©Dozado
Photo by Anastasia Atsapkina