Operalia 2017 Heads To Astana: Fun Facts About the World’s 3rd Largest Opera House & Beyond

By David Salazar

Operalia, The World Competition, is set to kick off its 2017 edition in just a matter of days. And as we prepare to look at what the new generation of singers has in store for us, it might be just as useful to get to know the local where the event will take place.

Most of the sites of the competition are well-known cities, but this year’s edition is headed to Astana in Kazakhstan, specifically its recently built opera house.

The construction of the opera house, which opened in 2013, was made by Nursultan Nazarbayev, costing around $300 million. The house contains two halls, the Main Hall, which seats around 1,250 people and the Chamber Hall, which holds around 250 seats. It is widely considered the third-largest opera house in the world. While the house isn’t among the most recognized in the world, it has hosted some of opera’s greatest stars, most notably Anna Netrebko in 2015.

In addition to the Astana Opera, the city also houses the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, which was created in 2004 and inaugurated in 2006. The Opera Hall accommodates 1,500 people.

The Central Asian country does not necessarily have as vibrant an operatic history as other nations, but there are some singers that have made their mark throughout history. That said, this year’s Operalia will feature four artists from Kazakhstan.

Kulyash Baiseitova, Erik Kurmangaliev, and Roza Baglanova are the most noted exponents of the nation as far as singers go. While all three thrived under the Soviet Regime, the latter was also a renowned pop star.