Applause, ovation, flowers on stage, spotlights, the bow of the troupe - from the very first word you probably understood that I would talk about the theater. Just like in any other city, in Nur-Sultan you can see and hear the masterpieces of world classics of opera and ballet such as 'The Nutcracker', 'Swan Lake' and 'Madame Butterfly'. But, have you ever seen a real camel with a cart go around the stage? Have you witnessed how an opera singer sings her aria while riding a horse around the scene? These elements are shown in the local performances and are specific for the Astana Opera and Ballet Theater in Nur-Sultan.
The Astana Opera and Ballet Theater opened its doors to spectators in 2013. An interesting fact is that architects from 33 countries took part in the construction of the theater. It is considered relatively young and new. However, we, locals, are predicting a legendary destiny for it. For 6 years, the theater has hosted world names like 'La Scala', 'the National Paris Opera', 'San-Carlo' and 'Carlo-Felice'. The building’s architecture resembles the luxurious neoclassical style with Kazakh ornaments, making the theater building quite unique.
The official website of the theater is in 3 languages: Kazakh, Russian, and English. The schedule is in English, however, you will purchase tickets in Russian. Don't worry; it’s quite easy. At the bottom of the site, click on the “Купить билеты” button, which means “Buy tickets”. Select a performance, date, and time, and click on the green button. Next, you will see a diagram of the hall, where you can choose specific sitting zones and even seats with different prices. They vary from $4 for the seats farthest from the scene to max $15 for the ones that are closest to the stage. Select and press the green button again. Fill in the data for payment, and you will receive your tickets by email. Another way to buy tickets is to go to the theater and buy them on the spot. Using online purchase is definitely more comfortable as it gives you a chance to save time.
Getting to know the local culture often attracts tourists who are aesthetes and history buffs. If you are one of them, I recommend seeing the opera "Abai" about the great poet of the Kazakh people. Also, the ballet "Karagoz", the love story of a young man and a woman from the Kazakh epic story. Astana Opera will help you touch history while seeing futuristic, colorful scenery with 3D elements. Additionally, you can see handsewn outfits and traditional costumes of the Kazakh people, as well as rituals and customs in some of the performances of opera and ballet.
During performances, it is not considered horribly impolite to talk with someone, but it's better to whisper. There is no strict requirement for dress-code, however, a neat and classic style of clothing is welcome. Local visitors of the theater mostly come in a so-called smart-casual style, but some might amaze you with the evening gowns and tuxedos. However, t-shirts and jeans should be left for walks around the city. You are not allowed to take food and drinks with you, but during the intermission, you can have a snack in the theater’s buffet. And yes, before planning to take photos inside, don't forget to ask permission from theater workers.
Artists and scriptwriters deeply study history to recreate the spirit of the time, including clothing, behavior, and decoration. Each performance is like preparation for a film. All the work in this theater is so subtly done that special attention is paid to details, like the household items on the stage. For example, a jug that stands on a table is painted manually, which can take up to 26 hours! The theater has a workshop for making costumes for artists and a workshop for decorations. All this work is done so that you feel elevated with the atmosphere of the specific time in history, during the stunning events and performances held at the Astana Opera and Ballet Theater in Nur-Sultan.
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