Valery Gergiev presided, as arranged at the opening production of the $280 million opera house built by the Kazakh dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
So far, so unsurprising. Gergiev likes rich dictators. But what’s this in the press release? ‘Astana Opera has signed preliminary co-production agreements with the Rome Opera and one of the leading opera houses of the world, Covent Garden.
Really? Are we not a little fastidious about dealing with tyrants?
Other opera houses working with the Kazakhs are: Opera South Africa, Shanghai Grand, Lyric Opera of Singapore, the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Bulgaria, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre.