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Curtain up at Astana Opera
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A new opera house has opened in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

The design of the building – a mix of Greco-Roman classicism and Baroque – was by a group of international architects.

It is the latest architectural project in the city which only became capital in 1997. A reported eight percent of the national budget has been spent on government buildings, a massive home for the president, and numerous monuments in Astana.

Tolgen Mukhamedzhanov, director of Astana Opera explained the thinking behind the opera house project: “We want to create an excellent artistic atmosphere inside the theatre. We have a wonderful chamber hall for 250 seats. Our artists will mainly rehearse and work there. I want every musician to become a solo performer, to be able to master their craft and express their feelings.”

It is actually Astana’s second opera house in just a few years – the city’s glass-and-granite Pyramid of Peace and Accord also houses a opera house.

This new 1,500 seat theatre includes a ballet school and museum.

Soprano Nurzhamel Ussembayeva said: “The opening of ‘Astana Opera’ is a great event in the cultural life of not only Kazakhstan, but of the world. It is a unique theatre with rare decoration, richness and elegance. I think it will establish itself as one of the top theatres of the world. “

“Birzhan and Sara”, a Kazakh opera officially opened the theatre, which hopes to stage two ballets and two operas a year.

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