Anatoli Goussev: Kazakhstanis are a singing nation, with a clear sound
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - The maestro of opera singing, international coach, Professor Anatoli Goussev, whose students sing in the most famous opera houses of Europe, is conducting vocal training with Astana Opera’s soloists in anticipation of the premiere of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Kazinform has learnt from the press service of Astana Opera.
- You founded a school of opera singing in Milan, and you teach academic vocals. Could you please give your professional assessment of the performing skills of Astana Opera’s soloists?
- I can only say the best things about Astana Opera’s soloists. As far as I can remember, Kazakhstanis have always been a singing nation, with a clear sound and a great ability to perceive another language. They sing beautifully in Italian, French. Suffice it to recall such famous and absolutely amazing performers as the People’s Artist of the USSR Bibigul Tulegenova, People’s Artist of the USSR Yermek Serkebayev, the wonderful tenor Alibek Dnishev. Therefore, there are wonderful voices and good school in Kazakhstan. I am happy to work at Astana Opera with your voices, because they are very beautiful. Since we are dealing with an opera that was born in Italy, the soloists need to learn the Italian language with due diligence.
- How are the preparations for the upcoming premiere of L’Elisir d’Amore going?
- Donzetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore is an opera buffa in two acts. It was written in 1832 for the Venetian Carnival. The composer created it in 2 weeks. It is a very short time, but despite this, it turned out to be a genius. It has entertaining music with the world famous tenor aria Una furtiva lagrima. I have already rehearsed with two casts. Among these there are light lyric tenor Zhan Tapin and Meir Bainesh. Saltanat Akhmetova sang for me, as well as Aizada Kaponova and Alfiya Karimova. Talgat Mussabayev is an absolutely amazing baritone. As I understand, he will be performing his part in the first line-up. He has a beautiful soft voice with a very intelligent attitude to the sound. We also worked with a young performer Yerzhan Saipov with a spectacular, dense voice. Yevgeniy Chainikov is preparing the part of the swindler Dr Dulcamara, who passes off old wine as a love drink. I also really liked the beautiful voice of a vocalist with an interesting picturesque appearance – Shyngys Rassylkhan. In addition, you have a remarkably prepared staff of pianists. The soloists have already learned their roles, I am pleased that we have put together the first act.
- Do you think that opera singers should always study?
- Absolutely, I agree with this. As a matter of fact, they really do study all their lives.
- Mr. Goussev, what components make it possible for an artist to cut a brilliant figure onstage?
- This is always a tough question to answer. Without a doubt, having a voice, patience for learning and a penchant for languages are a must. Furthermore, in this case, it is not English, but specifically the Romance languages – Italian, French, Latin. The ability to perform onstage, as well as lack of stage fright and a full vocal range.
- Since our interview is aimed at a wider audience, could you please give your advice to aspiring singers on what they need to do to become a part of high art?
- To always study, learn languages, find a good teacher, listen to a lot of music, but the most important thing is to love it!
- How do you feel about modern productions in which they try to make opera plots ‘relevant’ and ‘up to date’?
- Solely negatively. As the person who stages an Italian or French opera must be aware that the composer’s remarks, which say that «the door is on the right» or «the tree is in the middle», «the temple is on the left», are everywhere in the score. I believe that it is possible to change the layout onstage, but under any circumstances the classical attitude towards classical art must be preserved. I am totally against the situation when the audience, unprepared from the classical art point of view, comes to the opera house to enjoy themselves and in Verdi’s Rigoletto, instead of the Duke of Mantua’s palace, suddenly sees a swimming pool and women of easy virtue sitting in a bar. Opera is an elite art and it should be beautiful, logical onstage. If something is redone, and in Europe it is redone very often, everything loses its meaning. Modern stage directors need to understand that they should be directing, not reworking that what in itself is genius.
- It is interesting that your first education is the Sergei Kirov Higher Naval School. How did it come about that you made the switch from the sea expanses to operatic art?
- My late father, Alexei Goussev, served in combat in the World War II, in intelligence, and was awarded. At first, like all young guys, I was obsessed with the navy, ships, sailing ships, pirates and weapons. That is why I went to the naval school, but the music prevailed. My dad always played the piano, and my mother sang a wonderful coloratura soprano. Thus, the family knew music, they just did not do this professionally, as I did.
As a reminder, L’Elisir d’Amore comic opera will premiere at Astana Opera on December 25 and 26.