Great comeback after a long break [INTERVIEW]

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By Laman Ismayilova

After a long break, the Azerbaijani National Opera and Ballet Theater has finally opened its doors to opera and ballet lovers.

The theater has remained closed for some time amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Opera and Ballet Theater successfully prepared its comeback in October.

In his interview with Azernews, the principal conductor of the Opera and Ballet Theater, the emeritus artist Ayyub Guliyev, detailed the main activities and future plans of the theater.

“We are already ready for the reopening of the theater. In September,” Leyli and Majnun “by Uzeyir Hajibayli and the opera” La Traviata “by Giuseppe Verdi were presented at the theater as part of the 13th Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival . Both productions were a great success. At that moment, we felt how much the audience missed opera, ”said Ayyub Guliyev.

Great return of opera and ballet

After a break, the theater delighted its audience with a premiere. Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” were presented for the first time in the theater.

Polovtsian Dances is a ballet fragment from the opera “Prince Igor”. For almost 18 years, Borodin worked on his opera. However, he will present the work to the public as it remained incomplete after Borodin’s death. The opera was completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.

“The preparation work was a difficult process as the theater was closed for a while due to the pandemic. The opera and ballet theater opened with a premiere – ‘Polovtsian dances’, staged by emeritus artist Samir Samadov. With “Polovtsian Dances” we also managed to show our mugham performances, our classical productions, including the opera “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi, which is a masterpiece of lyrical art, “said Guliyev.

“Meanwhile, this year the opera celebrates its 150th anniversary since its inception. The opera brought together popular artists Avaz Abdullayev, Fidan Hajiyeva, Ali Asgarov, Akram Poladov, emeritus artist Azar Rzazade. The main part of the opera was performed by Belarusian Bolshoi Theater soloist Tatiana Tretyak, “he added.

“We haven’t forgotten the Azerbaijani classics either, which have a special place in our repertoire. In October, we staged “Sevil” and “Thousand and One Nights” by Fikrat Amirov. The theater also delighted its little guests with the production “Grand Conteur” to the music of Franz Schubert. At the same time, the audience enjoyed the ballet “Tango of love” by Astor Piazzolla, “said the conductor.

Theater catering

Built in 1910, the theater building is considered one of the most beautiful in Baku.

The first reconstruction was carried out in 1938, then in 1982. However, due to a violent fire in early 1985, the work was not completed until 1987.

The opera and ballet theater is being restored by the Austrian company “Erich Pummer”.

“The large-scale restoration works started in August. The process of restoring the facade of the building is underway. The theater hall, foyer, balcony and hall will also be renovated. It is a truly grandiose event. which we have been looking forward to for a long time, ”Guliyev said.

Sheets hawker in China

Uzeyir Hajibayli’s operetta “The Cloth Peddler” (Arshin Mal Alan) was successfully presented at Tianjin Grand Theater in China on September 16.

The event was scheduled for the National Azerbaijani Music Day celebrated annually on September 18.

“The Cloth Peddler is one of the favorite shows not only in Azerbaijan but also in the United States, Europe and Asia. In May, the Azerbaijani Embassy in China invited me to participate in the event. Then I met the President of the Silk Road Cultural Association, Claudia Jeune. With the support of the Embassy and the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture, a semi-scenic version of the operetta was presented. in China. Soloists, orchestra and choir of Tianjin Grand Theater performed in the operetta. will be premiered in the near future, “Guliyev said.

As coordinator, Ayyub Guliyev did everything to help with the preparations. Thanks to the joint work of the conductor, talented musicians and many others, the event was spectacular.

Speaking about that night, Guliyev praised the talent, diligence and sincerity of everyone who participated in the project.

The operetta has already been presented in China in 1959 and 2010. Interestingly, one of the soloists who once performed in the operetta staged in China long ago was also invited to this year’s production. .

Symphony concert in Poland

In October, Guliyev took part in a wonderful symphonic concert in Poland.

The concert was dedicated to the 880th anniversary of the birth of Azerbaijani poet and genius thinker Nizami Ganjavi.

“The year 2021 has been declared the year of Nizami Ganjavi in ​​Azerbaijan. This important date is celebrated by many cultural figures with a series of events. When I was invited to perform in the Polish city of Kalisz, I offered to devote part of the concert to the legacy of Nizami. The audience highly appreciated the concert which featured excerpts from the ballet “Nizami” by Fikrat Amirov, “The Seven Beauties” by Gara Garayev, ‘Ernest Bloch, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile and Symphony No. 6. For the first time in history, excerpts from the Azerbaijani ballets “Nizami” and “Seven beauties” were presented in Poland, “said Guliyev .

Before the concert, the famous Polish musicologist Witold Paprocki explained in detail to the audience the pieces of music included in the concert program.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Poland Nargiz Gurbanova spoke about the musical and cultural richness of Azerbaijan.

The Kalisz Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and acclaimed violist, associate professor of the Gdansk Academy of Music Christoph Tymendorf performed at the concert under the direction of Ayyub Guliyev.

International Singers Festival

The Second International Festival of Azerbaijani Singers was held in Baku from October 15 to 20. Ayyub Guliyev participated in the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival.

The Singers Festival aims to develop and promote classical music in Azerbaijan. The project also focuses on the formation of good musical taste in young people.

Unlike the first festival, this year the project has international status.

Initiated by the director of the Heydar Aliyev Palace, the emeritus artist Ramil Gasimov, the festival has widened its borders and brought together world-renowned musicians.

The Festival des Vocalistes opened with a baroque music concert. During the concert, the audience enjoyed the fascinating baroque music performed by the artists of the people Samir Jafarova, Gulnaz Ismayilova, the distinguished artists Ramil Gasimov, Farida Mamedova, Inara Babayeva, Sabina Asadova and Ilham Nazarov.

Speaking of the concert, the conductor praised the virtuosity of the musicians.

World Opera Day

The festival’s closing ceremony was even more spectacular and marked World Opera Day, celebrated on October 25 each year.

Culture Minister Anar Karimov and Opera Vision Director Luke O’Shaughness attended the event.

Speaking about World Opera Day, Guliyev expressed his pleasure to participate in such a large cultural event.

“For the first time in history, World Opera Day was celebrated in Azerbaijan. This day is organized under the auspices of Opera Europe and Opera Vision. I offered to organize a similar project. in our country. This year, Azerbaijan was the first country to mark World Opera Day. In addition, it became the first country in the region to celebrate Opera Day. Millions of people were able to attend the gala concert and left positive comments, ”said the conductor.

November cultural program

The National Opera and Ballet Theater has unveiled its program for November.

The Principal Conductor of the State Opera and Ballet Theater informed Azernews about upcoming productions at the theater.

The National Opera and Ballet Theater will celebrate Azerbaijan’s victory in the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020.

Ramiz Mustafayev’s opera “Vagif” will be presented to the public on November 8 (Victory Day).

“The staging of the opera is very symbolic since Vagif is the personification of the intelligentsia of Karabakh. This character is inextricably linked to the culture of Karabakh. Distinguished artist Ramil Gasimov will perform in the opera”, a said Guliyev.

Sardar Farajev’s ballet “Javadkhan” will be presented to the public on November 10th.

The National Opera and Ballet Theater is also preparing for the Nizami Ganjavi Week scheduled for November 14-20.

Gara Garayev’s “Seven Beauties” will be staged on November 16. In addition, Fikrat Amirov’s ballet “Nizami” will be screened at the theater on November 20.

At the end of the month, opera fans will see Uzeyir Hajibayli’s “Koroghlu” on November 27 and Pietro Mascagni’s “Rural Honor” on November 28.

In conclusion, Ayyub Guliyev stressed that the theater will surprise fans of opera and ballet with new productions.

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