[Chat] Azeri opera
Thu, 5 Jun 2003 16:20:27 -0700 (PDT)
A couple of people have sent me notes essentially
saying that they'd never heard of Azeri opera so I
thought I might share the little that I know.
Uzeyir Hajibeyov is known as the "Father of Composed
Music in Azerbaijan." He put a lot of the traditional
folk music on paper and translated it into formats
that Western audiences could understand.
He wrote operas such as "Leyli & Majnun" (a tragedy
similar to Romeo & Juliet), "Mashadi Ibad" aka "O
Olmasin, Bu Olsun " (If not this one, then that one),
"Arshin Mal Alan" (The Cloth Peddler), "Koroghlu" (Son
of a Blind Man) and others. Leyli & Majnun, which is
based on a thousand year old legend, premiered in
1908, when he was only 22. This was before Azerbaijan
was an independent country (1918-1920), before
Hajibeyov was a strong proponent of women's rights at
a time when women couldn't even vote in a lot of
Western countries. He was the first to have a woman
play a female role without a veil on stage in Baku in
1912. He was also a strong proponent of young people
choosing their own romantic partners, since he
believed that there was nothing more fundamental to
freedom and independence than choosing one's life
partner. He and his wife chose each other, which was
quite a scandal at that time.
The National Anthem which he composed for Azerbaijan
in 1918 was reinstituted in 1991 when Azerbaijan
became independent again.
Looking back over this note, I see that I can say a
lot more about the composer than the music, since I
don't have translations. I can dance to the music,
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