Ismagilov's "Ambassadors of the Urals", scene from the opera. Yulty - Hamid Izhboldin, Tsar Ivan the Terrible - Salavat Askarov. Photo by Sergei Gutnik
Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Snow Maiden". Snegurochka - Alfia Karimova, Tsar Berendey - Alexander Bogdanov (Theater "New Opera", Moscow). Photo by Sergei Gutnik
The Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theatre
The theatre first opened its doors with Paisiello`s “La bella molinara”. It was in December 14, 1938 in the building of the former Aksakov People’s House. On the first night it was performed in Bashkir, and on the second – in Russian. For the first two seasons the Bashkir Opera Theatre premiered thirteen productions and received about half-million spectators. The repertoire included Russian and West-European classics and operas by Soviet composers: Cimarosa`s “Il matrimonio segreto”, Gounod’s “Faust”, Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”, Gadzhibekov`s “Arshin mal alan, or The Traveling Salesman”, Brusilovsky`s “Yor Targin”, Zhiganov`s “Kachkyn, or The Fugitive” and others.
The mature skill of both opera and ballet companies was demonstrated most clearly during the Bashkir Ten-Day Literature and Art Festival held in Moscow in 1955. Such operas as Z. Ismagilov`s “Salavat Yulaev” and N. Rimsky-Korsakov`s “The Tzar’s Bride” and ballets – L. Stepanov`s “The Crane Song”, the first national ballet, and A. Krein`s “Laurensia” were highly appreciated by refined Moscow spectators and musical critics.
Creative principles, formed during the first decades of the Theatre’s existence, live on and continue to develop. The company continues to focus its efforts on producing the best pieces of foreign and Russian classics. The repertoire is basis on operas and ballets by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Donizetti, Rossini, Minkus, Adan. In their successful stage productions directors and performers achieve the acme of genuine art.
In summer 1999 Opera Company had success with Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the “Aspendos” Opera and Ballet Festival in Turkey.
Starting from 1991, the Theatre organizes Opera Festivals named “Chaliapin`s Nights in Ufa”. Fyodor Chaliapin made his opera debut in Ufa on December 17, 1890, and his life and creative work are widely popularized. Russian and foreign opera stars are invited to take part in these outstanding music occasions.
The International Ballet Festivals dedicated to the memory of Rudolph Nureyev are being held since 1993. The first festival was organized at Yury Grigorovich`s suggestion with his “Grigorovich Ballet Company” to participate. Many dancers throughout the world consider it an honour to give a performance in Nureyev’s native country, on the same stage where he made his first steps towards the world-wide fame. Soloists of the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky theatres, dancers from Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Latvia, creative companies “Grigorovich Ballet Company”, “Kremlevsky-ballet”, Gordeev’s “Russian ballet”, Cairo ballet, the ballet company of Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after P. Chaikovsky performed here.
In recent years the following theatrical premières drew a wide response in the republic: Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” (2004), Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” (2004), Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Snow Maiden” (2005), Ismagilov’s “Akmulla” (2005), dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the great enlightener and poet Miftahetdin Akmulla, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Un ballo in maschera” (2006), Gounod’s “Faust” (2007), Asafiev’s “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (2007) and Ismagilov’s “Ambassadors of the Urals” (2007), timed to the 450th anniversary of Bashkiria’s entry to Russia, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” (2008). During the anniversary season, two performances for children were produced: Ovsyannikov’s “Tom Sawyer” (2008) and Ulanovsky’s “The Gold Chicken” (2008).
Opera and ballet companies were welcomed on foreign tours in Thailand (2006, 2008), Portugal (2006, 2007), Brazil (2007). In November 2007, the ballet company gave 21 performances of Tchaikovsky’s “The Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker” in 11 days in Portuguese and Brazilian cities.
Opera Company and orchestra of the Theatre are becoming well-known and more and more popular on different stages of the world. In November 2007, Mozart’s “Requiem” was performed in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The orchestra and the choir named after Arturo Toscanini were conducted by Robert Luther, the chief conductor of the Theatre. In March 2008 the Theatre orchestra toured successfully in North Korea.
The Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theatre has performed its operas on prestigious Russian National theatrical festival “The Gold Mask” in Moscow: Ismagilov`s “Kahim-Ture” became a laureate (2004), Mozart`s “Die Zauberflöte” (2006) and Verdi`s “Un ballo in maschera” (2007) became nominees. In 2008 legendary Bashkir ballet dancer Zaituna Nasretdinova became a laureate of this award, winning the “Honour and virtue” prize. In December 2006 the Theatre was awarded the Russian Government Prize in the honour of Fyodor Volkov, winning in the “Best creative company” nomination. These awards are displayed in the theatrical museum.
In March 2008 artists of the Theatre participated in the “Bashkortostan – 450 years together with Russia” exhibition and performed successfully in the UNESCO headquarters in Geneva.
In 2007 the concerts of symphonic music, adored by spectators, were revived. The citizens of Ufa can now enjoy the works by Hector Berlioz, Charles Gounod, Sergei Rachmaninov etc. Choral music concerts are very popular as well. The theatrical choir, conducted by Honoured art worker of Russia and Bashkortostan, professor Elvira Gaifullina, performs works of foreign and Russian classical authors and Bashkir and Tatar composers.