• Carmen
    The Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival

The International Festival of Classical Music named after E.V. Obraztsova "Carmen" was created in 2017 by the "Sobranie" Cultural Initiative Supporting and Preservation Fund with the support of the Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region. It received its name and title in memory of the great Russian singer Elena Vasilievna Obraztsova. The image of Carmen created by her is recognized by the world musical community as the best and unsurpassed.

The educational ideals and tasks of the festival are embodied in its motto - "Great art for small towns". The events of the festival, which was held in the South Ural city of Satka, unfold not only in the familiar atmosphere of theaters and palaces of culture, but also in the urban environment - in parks and squares, as well as in production areas specially equipped for this purpose and turned into public spaces.

Official website of the festival - http://carmenfest.com/


On Friday, the gala concert was performed to honour the great E. V. Obraztsova, and during the weekend Satka residents and guests enjoyed Cinderella, the children’s musical performance, Carmina Burana on-stage cantata, and Carmen opera.  

Boris Dubrovsky, the Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region, took part in the opening ceremony of E. V. Obraztsova’s First Festival. Greeting festival guests and participants, he noted: “It can seem strange to someone that the event of such scale takes place in a town. But actually this is not surprising. Since long ago, Satka has become not only the economic growth point in the map of the Chelyabinsk Region, but also a venue for multiple cultural projects. Here – to a large extent due to support of Magnezit Group – a special social cultural space and view of life have formed. I am sure that this is what a modern town should be – a place where production goes hand in hand with high culture”.

This evening, the best fragments of The Queen of Spades, The Barber of Seville, The Tsar's Bride, Carmen were performed at the stage of Magnezit Cultural Center by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Glinka’s Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre under the direction of Larisa Gabitova, and awardees of international contests, including Elena Makarova, daughter of Elena Obraztsova, head of the International Music Academy. 

March 18, Saturday, Glinka’s Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre performed two stage productions: Cinderella, the children’s musical by Antonio Spadavekkia, Karl Orf’s (German composer of the XX century) Carmina Burana on-stage cantata by Vadim Keish.

Cinderella and the Prince were performed in the famous fairy-tale by awardees of international contests, Ekaterina Burtzeva and Pavel Chikanovsky.

Lovers of classical vocal and instrumental music enjoyed Carmina Burana on-stage cantata by Karl Orf, the German composer of the XX century. From the first sounds, it has fascinated the listeners with extraordinary enchantment.  The work was performed in three parts – Spring, In the Tavern and About Love.

March 19, spectators present in Magnezit Cultural Center enjoyed a great masterpiece — opera of Georges Bizet Carmen performed by actors of Magnitogorsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.

With good reason Carmen is called one of the pinnacles of the entire opera music and the highest point of Bizet creativity. This is the last opera of the composer that went its thorny way to glory and stages of world theatres.

Glorified, passionate, fascinating music — befitting the lead character, a beautiful gipsy that unstintingly loves freedom and got used to dominate everybody. Spectators, together with vigorous Carmen, are virtually immersed in the succession of events. And almost three hours, during which the drama unfolds and passion flares up like a red rose, pass like a minute.

Besides, the festival hosts a range of master classes and auditions based on art schools for children of the Satka Region involving experts of Obraztsova’s International Music Academy.  

The following experts will share experience with creative residents of the Region: Elena Makarova, head and chief of the department of the children’s academic vocal of Obraztsova’s International Music Academy and Deputy Director for development of creative projects and opera class teacher of Obraztsova’s International Music Academy, concertmaster and Larisa Gabitova, couch of the Mariinsky Theatre and symphonic  conductor.

The first day of the classes (March, 18) took place in r.p. Berduyash; March 19, the classes were held in Children's Art School No. 1 in Satka, while today the classes will be held in Magnezit Cultural Center. The invited teachers offer master classes for academic vocalists, concertmaster / piano players of any age, main profession and qualification level, from beginners up to graduates of higher educational establishments, up to acting actors and teachers.

See more details about main events of the festival and photo reports at: http://carmenfest.com.

According to the website of the Local Government of the Satka Region.

Photo by Denis Shakirov.

Elena Vyacheslavovna Makarova is a singer, mezzo soprano. Daughter of Elena Vasilevna Obraztsova. She studied at Maymonid’s State Classical Academy,  and after the third year of studies moved to become an apprentice of Montserrat Cabalier. She has been living in Barcelona since 1996, and came back to Russia with her family in 2011.

She’s actively engaged in giving concerts. She was signing in Spain, Italy, France, inter alia, with Montserrat Cabalier. She repeatedly took part in concert programmes together with Elena Vasilevna Obraztsova; geography of their joint performances covers Russia from Krasnodar to Blagovetshensk, and Europe from Latvia to Spain.

Elena Makarova took part in master classes of Elena Obraztsova, gave lectures and taught foreign languages and stylistics to young vocalists.


The traditional May holidays will come to Satka together with the magic of classical music and opera art. On 6-7 May the city will be the venue of Carmen Fest – the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival. The membership of the event participants comprises the symphony orchestra of Chelyabinsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre that is already well known to the audience, as well as the internationally renowned musicians and soloists.   

Being the focal place of the Festival, Magnezit Cultural Centre will open doors to visitors to hear Venonika Dzhioeva – the guest soprano soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre, and Vladimir Moroz – the leading baritone soloist of the State Academic Mariinsky Theatre, along with virtuoso performances by Polina Osetinskaya (piano) and Dmitry Makhtin (violin). The winners of Elena Obraztsova International Vocal Contest will also perform on the local stage.  

The musical accompaniment will be provided by Chelyabinsk Opera House that is going to perform for the first time under the lead of two recognized experts – the art director of Armenian Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre Konstantin Orbelyan and the conductor of Mariinsky Theatre Vladislav Karklin.  

Carmen Fest’s activity program will be traditionally full of exhibitions, film shows and special events for children. In particular, the young visitors will have an opportunity to take part in the unique interactive show “Meet The Orchestra” created by Vladislav Karklin.

Carmen Fest first captured the hearts of the audience in spring 2017. The core event that took place in Satka at that time was the gala concert with fragments from Elena Obraztsova’s favourite operas. In addition to that, Magnezit Cultural Centre heard Carmina Burana, the legendary and charming scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff, and Cinderella Musical by Antonio Spadavecchia that impressed even the youngest music lovers. The final accord of the spring-time theatrical episode was Carmen opera by Georges Bizet. The vocal workshops organized by the renowned experts and musical performances by students and teachers of Children’s Art Schools sold out the concert hall. The autumn-time Festival hosted chamber music nights marked with the performances by a French duo and an Italian quintet. Special atmosphere was created by the charitable event with participation of Lyudmila Zhiltsova - the La Scala Opera singer and guest soprano soloist of the Royal Theatre of Turin.


This year, the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen” invites its guests in high summer. July 19 – 22, Satka turned into the space for music, painting, theatre, cinema to merge into harmonious fusion... The debut summer season was full of surprises, and each of them was enthusiastically met by thankful spectators.

Trip to the Backstage

The festival opening started with the photo exhibition "Theatres, Roles, Spectators"..., devoted to the 80th anniversary of E. V. Obraztsova. Interactive exhibition helped festival guests immerse in the world of art that surrounded the great singer. The brilliant career, unexpected world of the backstage, stages of the world leading theatres – all these and many more details were shown in 16 info tablets. The technology flavor could also be sensed: spectators could use smartphones and QR codes to see the fragments of the performances Elena Obraztsova played in and hear her fascinating voice.

– In the interview, one of the Bolshoi Theatre colleagues of Elena Vasilievna Obraztsova rightfully mentioned: “All theatres of the world were not enough to express her creativity”. The theatre was everything for her. Elena Vasilievna used to tell that almost no dreams came true in life, but everything was possible in theatre, – Natalia Vodoleeva, the guide and art expert, told us.

In one of the festival evenings, the spectators could see the Carmen that became Elena Obraztsova’s visit card. The event guests were demonstrated My Carmen opera film (1977) starring Elena Obraztsova and Vladimir Atlantov. Extracts from the original novella by Prosper Merime and the most famous arias from the same-name opera by Georges Bizet were performed in the chamber teledrama.

Melody under the Stars

Another gem of the summer evening of the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen” was the open-air firework concert. And another surprise: the festival providers included not only classical music masterpieces in the “musical menu”. The stage next to Magnezit Cultural Center hosted the melodies from favorite films and even rock compositions loved by everybody.

But unusual neighborhood of Tsoy with Bizet, or Strauss with Piazzolla did not embarrass anybody. Actors of the symphonic orchestra of the Glinka’s Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet conducted by Alexander Matushkin, director, prize Winner of the All-Russian contest, and the solo performers, prize winners of international contests – Elena Rotkina and Pavel Chikanovsky – brilliantly created an amazing musical lorelei. And no doubt the listeners highly appreciated it.

– For us, musicians, such concert is professionally interesting. The sound in the hall is quite different from that outdoors. We have got the most positive impressions, and the audience, as they say now, “went wild”, – director Alexander Matushkin says. – Our solo performers Elena Rotkina and Pavel Chikanovsky really lighted up a stage! Satka people welcomed them with delight, though the concert repertoire was somewhat unusual for us.

Remembering Tchaikovsky

This year, many works of Pyotr Tchaikovsky have been performed in the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen”. And it is not accidentally:  Elena Obraztsova really loved creativity of the great Russian composer. She repeatedly performed his Russian romantic songs, opera arias inevitably causing delight of the Russian and foreign audience.

And in the gala concert of the festival, the listeners immersed in the fascinating world of  Tchaikovsky music again. In the first part of the concert, leading singers Elena Rotkina and Pavel Chikanovsky, and the symphonic orchestra of the Glinka’s Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet performed arias from the operas of Iolanta, Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades. Tatyana Bikmuhametova, a Satka resident, student of the Russian University of Theatre Arts, and holder of the Magnezit Group fellowship also sang at the stage of Magnezit Cultural Center. She performed arioso of Natasha from Oprichnik opera and "Whether day dawns" romantic song.

In the second part of the Gala Concert, the guests listened to Piano Concerto No. 1 by maestro Yuri Rozum. The People’s Artist of Russia had already pleased Satka citizens with his performance excellence, but it was the first time he performed at the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen”.

— It’s not without reason that the name of Elena Obraztsova sounds in Satka. It is the town, where people highly appreciate real art, their history, great actors of the country, I’ve got used that Satka presents amazing surprises in all respects: music, nature, architecture. I am glad that the sequence of events drove me to the town I had not suspected of a while back, — Yuri Rozum confessed.

That day, the broadcast of the gala concert could be watched in Magnezit Cultural Center square. In the end of the concert, Sergey Korostelev, president of Magnezit Group, awarded Yuri Rozum and conductor of the symphonic orchestra of the Glinka’s Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet with commemorative tokens of the Obraztsova Third International Classical Music Festival “Carmen”.

Music and…

Love for art is instilled since childhood. And the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen” became an unusual venue, where even the youngest spectators could learn more about music and its peculiar metamorphoses.

Who of us didn’t like to sing melodies from the Soviet and Russian cartoons? In the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen”, Satka dwellers remembered the songs while attending the open-air musical film theatre. But it was just the beginning: it will just suffice to mention the art picnic that invited thousands of families during the last day of the festival!

During the picnic of music and art, adults and children could attend multiple interactive areas. “Music and Technology” site presented a real fruit orchestra. Playtronica, Moscow team, told the children how to listen to rhythm, and the first-time musicians were willing to play their fruit and vegetables in sync with the melody.

Those, who needed more than fruit music experiments, went to the “Music and Rhythm” site. A duet from Yekaterinburg, Guys Sub Spoons, excited the audience by playing wooden spoons and even plastic tubes. It impressed both children and adults.

In the world of art, there is always room for discoveries. To see why, it was enough to visit “Music and Painting” and “Music and Poetry” sites. Here, true-life magic was happening to the strains of songs performed by Yuri Rozum, People’s Artist of Russia, Tatyana Bikmuhametova, a student of the Russian University of Theatre Arts, and solo performers of the best Moscow and European opera theatres. Accompanied by music, one could recite their favorite poems impromptu in the open mike or create a still life under the supervision of the Moscow artist Aleksandr Shilov.

Lovers of active games were especially welcome in the “Music and Sport” site. To play the guitar, synthesizer or drums, for example, children had to spin the pedals! And, of course, the picnic participants paid much attention to the giant floor piano. And the fans of intellectual battles could visit “Music and History” site: it enjoyed more than 700 people!

The festival guests also granted warm welcome to the programme of TenorS of the ХХI Century art project. Soloists of the reputable Moscow and European opera theatres performed children songs that enjoyed everybody’s love.

The bright finale of the third day of the Obraztsova International Classical Music Festival “Carmen” was the brilliant performance of Proletarian Tango retro orchestra. Anna Didenko, a leading performer of the orchestra, the best voice of Obraztsova’s International Music Academy, performed the hits in the modern adaptation well liked by Satka people. The guests gave standing ovation to the performers and were very unwilling to let them leave the stage.

Bright, cheerful, filled with the carefree summer mood – this is what the Obraztsova Third International Classical Music Festival “Carmen” turned out to be. Representatives of the event organizer – Sobranie Fund – confess: debut of the summer seasons of Carmen was a success. And it means that Satka will have another cultural milestone to attract new guests and participants.