Monday, June 30, 2008

As Leonard Slatkin Farewell To The National Symphony Ends, Kazakhstan's "Starry Decade Of Astana" Festival Begins With Popstar Whitney Houston

... "The week-long “Starry Decade of Astana” festivities started this weekend and will culminate on Mr Nazarbayev’s 68th birthday on Sunday. Dmitri Medvedev, Russia’s president, is attending to celebrate central Asia’s equivalent of Dubai or Brasilia.

Outside the Akorda, Mr Nazarbayev’s blue-domed palace, a stage is going up for US popstar Whitney Houston to sing to the crowds.

Much of Astana’s architecture is futuristic and extravagant, a product of the bountiful oil wealth flowing into Kazakhstan, once one of the poorest Soviet republics, which is emerging as a global energy power. Two buildings were commissioned from Norman Foster, the British architect: the Pyramid of Peace and Khan’s Pavilion, based on the hanging gardens of Babylon." ...

Isabel Gorst "Credit woes mar Astana’s capital idea" Financial Times June 29, 2008


Well, credit woes aside, conceptual and patriotic woes appear to be threatening Placido Domingo's recently renamed Washington NATIONAL Opera, in the Nation's Capital; as well as Sharon Percy Rockefeller's new Classical WETA-FM, so-called public radio, also in the Nation's Capital.

It was the best of times, and also the worst of times ... Astana, Kazakhstan follows in the footsteps of Brasilia, Canberra, Washington, D.C., and Saint Petersburg.

All roads leading from Siberia to Central Asia, from China to Europe are said to meet in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Due to Stalinist forced collectivization in the 1930s, hunger is said to have caused the death of 1.5 million Kazakhs, which would represent more than 40 percent of the then population of the nation.

Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks. Astana Stadium (c) Tabanlioglu Architects via World Architecture News. With thanks.


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