On the eve of the Nauryz Spring Renewal holiday, the State Republican Academic Korean Musical Comedy Theater hosted the debut concert of the revived group of artists of the Premium Ext Korean Theater. The musical collective was created by the merger of two groups known in the recent past under the name X-Pression and Premium (quartet). The performances of the leading soloists of the theater and still promising young performers of the collective, who sounded on the stage on these pre-holiday days two evenings in a row and were sold out, showed that the audience was longing for such shows, the modern viewer needs such a performance. Moreover, the updated team already has its own fans.
The concert dedicated to Nauryz turned out to be invigorating and incendiary in spring.
Actors and singers who are well known by fans of theatrical art by now, on their debut evening presented a somewhat new (or updated?) repertoire. It seemed as if they were recalling those glorious days of their humble beginnings, and all the fans and audience they have blessed with their talent.
It is true that the songs performed on stage were the ones that we as an audience have heard before. But this time it felt renewed and fresh, the decorations, the performance itself, you see everything was live, and it too helped to create an intimate connection with the audience. In addition, each of the performers on this spring evening was able to show other abilities unknown to the audience before this March. One can confidently say that we were lucky enough to witness this concert, which was just as unique as the spring wind in March. And just like that an updated, or rather, a united team of great creative individuals begins its journey on the big stage of the theater
Perhaps we should also mention who this new team is really made of. The X-Pression group was formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2004. Over the years of the band’s existence, two solo concerts have been played: “Waves” and “R. U. Ready”. This group was undoubtedly remembered by fans as a talented team that sadly did not have enough time to really show their true potential. The Premium Quartet was created in 2009 and disbanded in 2016. The quartet’s repertoire included works of Italian classics and hits of modern popular music. They are best remembered for their rich palettes of voices, and with their performances of Kazakh songs, which helped them gain fame among Kazakh listeners.
Thus, having united into a group, which is now called Premium Ext, the collectives returned to the stage in a new, enriched and updated quality with a repertoire that inccludes most famous Korean, Kazakh, Russian, English, Italian songs about love, about a woman, about spring – about life, which the soul needs so much. I am sure that the walls of the Korean Theater have not seen such complicity, co-creation, co-perception and co-rejoicing for a long time. Many, many of its regular visitors in different formulations spoke about the same thing after the concert: a new wave (similar to the Korean one) also touched one of the ethnic patriarchs from the family of theaters in Kazakhstan – the Korean Academic. After the concert, the impression of a certain involvement in high art remained.
Let it be somewhat deceptive – after all, no matter how you turn it, everyone has their own role: the actors have it connected with Pushkin’s proclamation “And, bypassing the seas and lands, burn the hearts of people with the verb”, and we, the audience, just need to distract ourselves from the vanity of vanities, leave thoughts at least for a while about everyday affairs and problems and give your own soul the opportunity to get pleasure from contact with the beautiful.This evening, it seemed, was also warmed up by young excitement, young energy. In the concert program there was a place for both modern rhythmic melodies and classical works. It is noteworthy that there were enough creative forces for any preferences: works of various genres were played from the stage. The audience greeted all the performers with applause, happily noting the versatility of the artists.
The concert was opened by the famous song of the Kazakh composer A. Sagatov “Nauryz, Nauryz!”, giving the concert that festive mood to which the entire program and everything happening in the hall obeyed during the evening. The theme was firmly connected with the fertile theme of spring, renewal, love, to which, as is known, all ages are submissive. The hosts of the evening and performers, as well as members of the unique updated ensemble Sergey Kim and Vitaly Lee, without distracting themselves from the main business on stage-singing, addressed the audience as a friend, as a person who not only knows them from regular concerts of patriotic and other soul-taking songs, but is also aware of the creative the ways of the quartet, which is full of successes, victories, and … losses. The collective, as you know, could not recover for a long time when one of the four voices, Evgeny Lee, left it for objective reasons. The three of them sang, performed often, but the ensemble was still not full and continued to live with memories of victories when everyone was still together.
The year 2012 vividly comes to mind, when, following the results of the international radio festival “Dala Dauysy”, the Premium quartet was recognized as the best pop group in Kazakhstan – Koreans then managed to perform the best song in the Kazakh language “Naz Konyr”. And it worked, and it works not only for the quartet’s image. The Korean Theater itself, where the soloists come from, is proud of the fact of such recognition of the international competition.
I think after this concert, two ensembles seemed to spread their wings, and we will again expect them to win on the big stages. The concert raised a rich archive of those songs that were experienced and sung by the soloists. “Almaty”, “Your Dreams” and others that were written especially for the quartet are still fresh in my memory. But the accompaniment was richer at this concert. Violins sang together with the performers, the piano sounded, guitars played, and sometimes the audience sang along. Very opportunely, help came from the masters of the theater – the Honored Artist of Kazakhstan Zoya Kim and the main director of the theater Elena Kim, who did not forget for a moment about those soloists’ concerts that required their continuation. Famous soloists-vocalists of the Korean Theater of the classical genre Angelina Yugai and Maya Lee took the stage. Young talent Evgenia Yun performed a modern work, breaking the thunder of applause and provoking a lively response from young people who clearly liked the bright performance, one might say, that Zhenya was born in the theater. Of course, both her mom and dad are on stage today – that’s really true, you need to be born in the theater to show a whole mini-performance like this, performing one piece in a modern style.
It turned out that the theater helped the new team to spread its wings. They always support each other here, and even when giving interviews to a newspaper, they certainly first of all talk mainly about the theater, rejoicing in their participation in its most important cause – the development of national culture, enriching the palette of multinational culture of Kazakhstan with their contribution.
– What are our songs about? As before, as always – about love, about the good, about the eternal, – says Sergey Kim.
And there are tears of rain on the window. The window was washed, however, on the screen, which illustrated the works of performers with famous videos and stories from feature films all evening. And this also gave the concert a mood and a unique thoughtfulness about the enduring values of our life. Needless to say, retro is always in the price of the viewer! We have not forgotten about those who are not with us today from representatives of world culture. On the screen are the faces of people dear to us: Lucciano Pavorotti, Edith Piaf, Sergei Rachmaninov, Vladimir Vysotsky, Viktor Tsoi, Muslim Magomayev, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, Zhanna Friske, Murat Nasyrov, Batyrkhan Shukeev…
We remember them all, remember their songs, sing and re-sing them. We remember the civic courage with which they went through life. And it sounds like a requiem from the stage:
…The pale leaves of the window
Overgrown with clear water.
The water has no death, no bottom.
I’m saying goodbye to you.
The concert is over. But the audience was in no hurry to leave their seats. And the artists performed several more works for an encore. We managed to get an interview by phone.
– The preparation took long, – recalls the chief director of the theater Elena Kim. – Everyone liked the initiative of Alexander Park, who is the producer of the united ensemble. But, to be honest, it was not the rehearsal process itself that took this long, but overcoming the doubts that we had. Thanks to Lyubov Augustovna! As you can see, everything went great and we were sold out. I think there is a bright future ahead of us. We are waiting for fundamentally new works and creative discoveries from the artists. Perhaps, we may have original songs, and many more to come which will only make us proud.
– Both groups were successful at the time. They were easily recognized and one might even say that they were popular among young fans. And I remember them as serious performers. That’s what made me believe in them and their creative potential so much, that I decided to give them creative freedom. Here’s your scene, you know your audience better than I do, – the director of the theater Lyubov Augustovna Ni summed up the concert. – I liked what I heard here today, and I saw how the audience received that. I truly believe everything went great. I think we should be expecting an inclined interest in our joined group by a younger audience in the future. That way we could also introduce them to our classical productions, those plays that need a prepared viewing. After a successful debut, I would like to wish our new group good luck, Premium Ext. See you soon!.