Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theater

Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theater


more properly known as the M. F. Akhundov Academic Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theater. It was founded as a theater in Baku in 1920 when an opera and a drama company were merged. From 1924, operas were produced in Azerbaijani and Russian. Among the first operatic productions were Leili and Medzhnun by U. Gadzhibekov, The Shah Ismail by Magomaev, Ashig Garib by Z. Gadzhibekov, as well as operas by Russian and Western composers. Among those who contributed to the development of the Azerbaijan musical theater were such leading Azerbaijan stage artists as Biul’-Biul’, Sh. Mamedova, G. Sarabskii, S. Ga-dzhieva, F. Mukhtarova, G. Gadzhibababekov, M. Bagirov, and M. Teregulov and such Russian performers as V. A. Nikol’skii, N. G. Zubarev, P. L. Karpova, and K. Knizh-nikov; the conductors S. A. Stolerman and V. A. Gess; and such directors as A. V. Varlamov. In 1930 the name M. F. Akhundov was conferred on the theater.

Landmark performances of the theater were the operas Shakhsenem by Gliére (second production of 1934), Nergiz (1935) by Magomaev, and Ker-ogly (1937) by U. Gadzhibekov which earned the State Prize of the USSR in 1941. The following artists became members of the company in the 1930’s and 1940’s: A. Rzaeva, Kh. Kadzhar, S. Ka-dzhar, G. Iskenderova, K. Grigorian, A. Buniiatzade, A. Sadykhov, S. Mustafaeva, andG.Gasanova; the ballerina G. Almaszade; the directors S. Dadashev, I. Idaiatzade, and A. Iskenderov; and the conductors Niiazi and A. Gasanov. The theater was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1938. In 1940 the first Azerbaijani ballet, The Maiden’s Tower by A. Badalbeili, was produced. Operas of this period include Safa (1939) by A. Mailian, Khosrov and Shi-rin (1942) by Niiazi, and Veten (1945) by K. Karaev and Dzh. Gadzhiev, which received the State Prize of the USSR in 1946. The singers R. Beibutov, F. Akhmedova, L. R. Imanov, and Atakishiev, the ballet dancers L. Vek-ilova, K. Batashov, and R. Akhundova, the director M. Mamedov, and the conductor K. Abdulaev were among the artists who joined the theater in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The theater’s repertory also includes the operas SeviV (1953) by Amirov and Azad (1957) by Dzhangirov and the ballets Giul’shen (1950) by S. Gadzhibekov, which earned the State Prize of the USSR in 1952; The Seven Beauties (1952) and The Path of Thunder (1960), both by K. Karaev; The Legend of Love (1962) by A. Melikov; Chernushka (1965) by A. Abbasov; and The Shadows of Kobistan (1969) by F. Karaev.


Mamedova, Sh. Puti razvitiia azerbaidzhanskogo teatra. Moscow, 1931.
Gadzhibekov, Uz. “Ot ‘Leili i Medzhuna’ do ‘Ker-ogly,’ “ In Iskusstvo azerbaidzhanskogo naroda. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938.
Kasimov, K. “Zarozhdenie i razvitie azerbaidzhanskogo muzykal’nogo teatra.” In Iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana, vol. 3. Baku, 1950.
Dadashov, S. Akhundov ad’ina Lenin ordenli Azärbayjan opera vä balet teatrïnïn älii illiyi. Baku, 1958.
Badalbeili, A., and K. Kasimov. Azerbaidzhnskii gos. ordena Lenina teatr opery i baleta im M. F. Akhundova. Moscow, 1959.
Sarabskii, A. Vozniknovenie i razvitie Azerbaidzhanskogo muzykal’nogo teatra. Baku, 1968.


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