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Astana, Kazakhstan • 22 April, 2024 | 11:49

Weekend Events: Sakha Epic Opera, Charity Screening, Kazakh Wildlife Encyclopedia

Events to see in Astana and Almaty on April 19-21

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This weekend brings a heat wave and an array of quite insightful events. The Astana crowd can look forward to an olonkho performance — an opera in Sakha — that will immerse viewers in the tale of the Middle World and its struggles between the Heavens and the Underground. Book lovers can go to a launch event for a vibrant wildlife encyclopedia about the elusive animals of Kazakhstan, among other presentations featured at the Eurasian Book Fair this year.

Meanwhile, in Almaty, the public will drink a lot of tea in many different ways at a tea-tasting event offering insight into the best pairings for this beloved beverage. Furthermore, the Southern Capital will host a charity screening of A Knight’s Tale, with all proceeds going towards the victims of the floods in Northwestern Kazakhstan.

Check out these and more events in the weekend digest by QazMonitor below.


Nyurgun Bootur opera

The Sun worship ritual forewarned the dwellers of the Upper World of misfortune, that fair Tuyaaryma Kuo, the ancestor of the Sakha people, faces great challenges ahead. If before sunrise none of the daredevils can shoot the golden pearl egg hanging in the sky with an arrow, then she must marry a warrior of the Lower World and bid farewell to the sunlight forever.

NOTE: The opera will be staged in Sakha with Russian surtitles.


Astana – April 19, 7:00 p.m.

Almaty – April 22, 7:00 p.m.


Astana – Astana Ballet, Uly Dala Avenue 43

Almaty – Abay Opera House, Kabanbay Batyr Street 110

Entrance: ₸2,000–₸5,000 (as of April 18, 2024, $4.47–$11.18)


Steppe Wildlife of Kazakhstan (Қазақстан дала аңдары) launch with the book's authors

The steppes cover one-third of the country, forming a vast biome inhabited by Altai marals, sub-species of wolves, gray marmots, and other animals well-adapted to its harsh environment. The team behind Steppe Wildlife of Kazakhstan, including environmental specialist and co-author of the book, Alyona Koshkina, will share insights into the peculiarities of the local ecosystem, hold a Q&A session, and demonstrate how satellite tags aid in studying the elusive animals.

Date: April 20, 1:00 p.m.

Address: Congress Center, Heydar Aliyev Street 12

Entrance: ₸500 ($1.12)


Workshop on travel sketching with contemporary artist Polina Krutova

The art of sketching is open to everyone, even those who may have forgotten how to hold a pen. Through her presentation, contemporary artist Polina Krutova will show how this simple skill can be transformed into an illustrated notebook, capturing fond memories from every aspect of life.

NOTE: The workshop will be conducted in Russian. Please sign up through Concept Art’s DMs to attend the event.

Date: April 20, 6:00 p.m.

Address: Concept Art lecture hall, Kerey and Zhanibek Khans Street 5, entrance 3, office 23, 2nd floor

Entrance: ₸6,000 ($13.40)

National Museum
National Museum

"Treasures of Yakutia" exhibition

A scatter of two thousand glimmering diamonds adorns a silver plate, serving as a centerpiece that dazzles the eyes at the “Treasures of Yakutia” exhibition. Masters in jewelry, blacksmithing, and traditional craftsmanship from the Sakha Republic have brought over a hundred exhibits for the local audience, showcasing the exquisite artistry behind faceted diamonds, musical instruments, and women's garments.

Dates: April 19 – May 1

Schedule: Tue–Sun, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Address: National Museum, Tauelsizdik Avenue 54

Entrance: ₸1,300–₸2,700 ($2.90–$6.03)


The Third of the Sixteen Arhats; Standing Buddha from Gandhara (source: Tokyo National Museum)
The Third of the Sixteen Arhats; Standing Buddha from Gandhara (source: Tokyo National Museum)

Lecture about Tokyo National Museum by art scholar Azat Didar

Boasting the largest collection in Japan, the Tokyo National Museum displays ancient and medieval Japanese art, as well as artifacts from the Silk Road. Among them are depictions of Indian arhats—those who gained insight into the true nature of existence and achieved Nirvana—such as the painting of The Third of the Sixteen Arhats, and an example of Greco-Buddhist art, the Standing Buddha from Gandhara.

NOTE: The lecture will be conducted in English.

Date: April 20, 2:00 p.m.

Address: Abylkhan Kasteyev Museum of Arts, Microdistrict Koktem-3, 22/1

Entrance: ₸200–₸500 ($0.45–$1.12)

Unsplash/Hu Jiarui
Unsplash/Hu Jiarui

"Tea, Cereals, Milk And Dried Fruits. World Traditions" tea tasting with tutor Denis Shumakov

Tea traditions vary drastically across the world. In Kazakhstan, people often sip the beverage with milk, while in other places, tea enthusiasts may add cereal to their cups. Tutor Denis Shumakov will guide his audience with intriguing facts about tea ceremonies, exploring the question of what pairs better with black tea — buckwheat or rice.

Date: April 20, 7:00 p.m.

Address: Iwine wine school, Dostyk Avenue 109, 2nd floor

Entrance: ₸10,000 ($22.33)

Still from the movie
Still from the movie

A Knight’s Tale (dir. Brian Helgeland) charity screening with filmmaker Olzhas Bayalbayev

When the lowly squire William Thatcher learns that his master has passed away just before the final joust at the local tournament, he immediately jumps at the opportunity. Driven by his hunger for both food and glory, he dons his late master’s armor and claims the prize. But at some point, he would have to ask himself what makes a true knight.

All proceeds will go to the flood victims in Northwestern Kazakhstan.

NOTE: After the screening, filmmaker Olzhas Bayalbayev will lead an open discussion about the movie. Please sign up for the event through the specified contact on Imagine Studios' Instagram post.

Date: April 21, 7:30 p.m.

Address: Central Universal Store (TSUM), Imagine Studios art space, Abylay Khan Avenue 62, 6th floor

Entrance: ₸3,000 ($6.70)

Ominous by Nicholas Roerich
Ominous by Nicholas Roerich

"N.K. Roerich. The Start of the Road" exhibition of Nicholas Roerich's works

In his earlier period, Nicholas Roerich was greatly influenced by Russian symbolism, a movement that emphasized spirituality as a means of understanding the world. Till the end of the month, the Almaty public will have the opportunity to see the painter’s earlier works such as Ominous (Зловещие) and Mekheski – Moon People (Мехески – лунный народ), among others. These are the precursors of Roerich’s eventual shift from Europe to Asia.

Dates: April 19 – April 30

Schedule: Tue–Sun, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Address: Abylkhan Kasteyev Museum of Arts, Microdistrict Koktem-3, 22/1

Entrance: ₸200–₸500 ($0.45–$1.12)

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