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This opera is dedicated to the memory of Aitwar Kharulin, a young artist, who was only 18. We love you, Aika!
4 pm, June 20 and 21, 1999
Kasteev State Museum of the Arts, Almaty, Kazakhstan
(Photos are scenes from the performances including some of the video-projected backgrounds.)
Tableau 1 - The Shepherd
The open steppe country... as the curtain opens, tall, snow-capped mountains can be seen in the background... a light glows from the base of the foothills, far away... a shepherd and his friend enter the stage... the Shepherd approaches the front, he is concerned about his daughter, Aigul, who has chosen a life that he doesn't understand.
Tableau 2 - The Businessman
A Kazakh businessman, Zhanabai, has ideas of becoming a millionaire. He has just received huge investments in his telecommunications venture. His office is filled with ridiculous articles showing off his new wealth and the latest technology. Large windows overlook the city of Almaty with the mountains in the background.
Zhanabai is speaking in an agitated manner into a cellular phone... hovering behind him is his bodyguard. After fielding several calls, he orders his men to find Aigul. She has been working for him for the past few months as a model in a new publicity campaign for his company. These advertisements are appearing around the city on television, billboards and magazines. She has been missing for several days.
Tableau 3 - The Wishing Tree
It is evening... in the Issuk River Valley near the city, Aigul is standing by a wishing tree (a wishing tree is a tree found throughout the countryside in the Far East, people tie cloth to the branches and make a wish, or say a prayer. Occasionally these trees are completely covered with pieces of cloth).
She ties a cloth to the tree...
Tableau 4 - The Shaman
Inside a yurt... the arching canopy and rich fabrics form a spectacular set, at the center sitting on a carpet is a frail old man... he is a seer... he sings a commentary
Tableau 5 - The Streets of Almaty
Downtown Almaty... with the sounds of traffic and lights from advertisements...
At a busy intersection lined with trees and signs... a billboard of KAZAN telecommunications with Aigul's picture can be seen in the background... The Shepherd enters, he does not notice the sign at first. It is the first time he has been in the city, he is confused by all the traffic, noise and lights... he encounters Zhanabai, the businessman, in front of Aigul's poster
Tableau 6 - The Wishing Tree
Aigul is at the wishing tree... Zhanabai and the Shepherd arrive. Each one is there for a different reason... they each express their own desires for the future...