Irada Ayupova: ''Glinka Contest has returned to Kazan''

A record number of participants after a five-year break

The draw among participants of the Glinka International Vocal Contest is taking place today in the Musa Dzhalil Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kazan. Then its grand opening takes place in the Kazan city hall, it will be a gala concert of opera stars. How many participants and where will come to Kazan, what are the prizes of the contest and how many performers will reach the final – read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

The contest is back

On 9 April, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan Irada Ayupova opened a briefing in the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan, on whose shoulders the main organizational tasks fell. ''The contest was held in Kazan 20 years ago, now it is coming back. It is reviving in Kazan, because the contest has not been held for the last 5 years, since 2014. The contest was first all-Russian, and since 1991 it has acquired the status of international. Thanks to the geography of participants, it confirms this status this year as well. If at first we were worried that the contest may receive few applications, now we are worried that there are too many of them. To date, 233 people have confirmed their participation in the contest,'' said Irada Ayupova. According to her, as a rule, from 100 to 120 participants take part in such contests.

The minister of culture analyzed the situation with a large number of participants. She rightly believes that, first, the competition has not been held for 5 years. Second, the prize values are impressive, for example, the first prize winners receive 300,000 rubles. Third, the winners will have the right to participate in the Tchaikovsky Competition without preliminary audition. Fourth, there is a great interest in Tatarstan and its musical culture. It has shaped the desire to participate in the contest held in Kazan among the young musicians.

Because of this influx of participants, the draw alone at the opera theatre will be held for three hours. As for the first round, it lasts for 3 days, and every day about 70 singers will be auditioned.

Albina Shagimuratova, who is going to head the jury, once became the winner of the first prize of the contest. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The jury in the first round will have to work from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but, as Ayupova explained, the voice of the singers ''reveals'' closer to 11 a.m., so the opportunity to start listening to the contestants from the eastern regions, where the morning comes earlier, will be sought. However, it is unclear how this will be combined with the draw.

The youngest participant is 19 years old, the most adult — 32, this is the upper age limit. If we talk about the geography of the contest, Russia, CIS countries and far abroad — from the US to Israel — are fully represented, 14 countries and 38 participants from abroad in total. Of course, the non-Russian singers will have a harder time than ours because the main part of the mandatory programme is Russian music. The works by Mikhail Glinka are mandatory for performance.

Which of the thirty-three?

At the time, the winners of the first prize of the Glinka Contest were Mikhail Kazakov and Albina Shagimuratova from Kazan, who now are heading the jury. Then they both successfully performed at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, also received the first prize. Kazan bass Vladimir Vasilyev is also a winner of a Glinka Contest.

By the way, Valery Gergiev is supervising both Glinka Contest and Tchaikovsky Competition, who is now talking about that those who received the first prizes in Kazan should participate in Tchaikovsky Competition without audition, which indicates a high ranking of the contest held in Tatarstan.

Valery Gergiev, supervising both Glinka Contest and Tchaikovsky Competition, is now talking about that those who received the first prizes in Kazan should participate in Tchaikovsky Competition without audition. Photo: Roman Khasaev

This time, 33 participants represent Tatarstan at the competition, 12 of them are students of the Kazan State Conservatory, there are young soloists of the opera theatre. Who of them will be able to claim prizes — time will tell.

Irada Ayupova called the situation with the contest in Kazan ''atypical'' because, as a rule, the singers are preparing for the contest at least six months. Now time was less. But for Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medinsky it was very important to revive the Glinka Contest, the idea was supported by Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. ''I really want to believe that the winners of this contest, as well as those who became winners at previous competitions, will adorn opera art in the future,'' said Irada Ayupova.

The first and second rounds are held under the piano, in the third round the contestants will perform the programme with the Tatar State Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Alexander Sladkovsky will stand at the conductor's desk. The Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra will also participate in the final gala concert, as well as in the opening gala concert in the Kazan city hall. According to preliminary data, about 40 performers will be admitted to the second round, to the third — ten or fifteen.

A big load will fall on the shoulders of Kazan accompanists, because not all contestants will have the opportunity to come to Kazan with their own. It is already estimated that 165 participants will need accompanists. For example, accompanist Alsu Baryshnikova will work immediately with seventy contestants. But — the good news: the best accompanist will also be awarded the prize within the framework of the contest.

In the third round, the contestants will perform the programme with the Tatar State Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Alexander Sladkovsky will stand at the conductor's desk. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Earlier, the Glinka Contest was held once in 2 years, now, most likely, it will be held once in 3 years and, perhaps, Kazan will remain the permanent host for it, and it will be another Tatarstan music brand. The contest finishes on April 19 with the announcement of the winners and their gala concert at the Saydashev State Great Concert Hall, auditions will be held in the same hall. On April 21, the winners will give a concert in the Mariinsky Theatre Second Stage.

The entrance to the auditions of the first and second rounds in Saydashev State Great Concert Hall in Kazan is free.

By Tatyana Mamaeva