(full name, M. Azizbekov Azerbaijan Dramatic Academic Theater), founded in 1920, first as the Azerbaijan Troupe of the United State Theater, which included Russian and Armenian troupes. It was formally established in 1922 and was called the Academic Drama Theater until 1929, when it was renamed the Theater of Art. In 1935 it was renamed the Drama Theater, and it assumed its present name in 1950. In the 1920’s some of the most representative productions in its repertory were M. F. Akhundov’s Gadzhi Kara, D. Zh. Mamedkulizade’s The Dead, S. Sani’s Falcon’s Nest, M. Husein Javid’s Sheikh Senan, A. Akhverdov’s The Ruined Nest, Dzh. Dzhabarly’s Aidyn and Oktai el’ Ogly, Gogol’s Inspector General, Gorky’s The Lower Depths, Schiller’s The Robbers, and Shakespeare’s Othello. The production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1926) and Trenev’s Liubov’ Iarovaia (1929) were significant events in the development of the theater. Since the early 1930’s the theater has been staging plays on contemporary subjects, such as Dzhabarly’s Almas and Iashar and others. The theater company came to artistic maturity in the second half of the 1930’s. At that time many gifted actors came to the fore. In addition to realistic plays on contemporary subjects (for example, S. Rakhman’s The Wedding), the theater has also staged monumental nationalist-heroic plays (such as Javid’s Siiavush and Vurgun’s Vagif). The theater has been very successful in its interpretation of national and world classical literature.
During the Great Patriotic War, the Azerbaijan Theater staged patriotic productions such as Rasul Rzy’s Vefa and Ibragimov’s Makhabbet and nationalist-heroic productions such as Vurgun’s Farkhad and Shirin and Husein’s Nizami. The best productions of the 1940’s and 1950’s include Mamedkhanly’s The Morning of the East (1948), Medzhnunbekov’s The Bay of Il’ich (1958), and Seidbeili’s and Kasumov’s On Distant Shores (1956). The theater has also staged classical plays, such as Shakespeare’s Othello (1949). In the 1960’s it staged Gorky’s The Zykovs, L. Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse, Schiller’s Maria Stuart, and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.
The following people have played a considerable role in the history of the theater: the actors A. M. Sharifzade and Ul’vi Radzhab; People’s Artists of the USSR M. Aliev, S. Rukhulla, M. Davudova, and A. Alekperov; People’s Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR R. Afganly, A. Iskenderov, and O. Kurbanova; and stage director A. A. Tuganov. In 1969 the troupe of the theater included People’s Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR L. Badirbeili, M. Velikhanly, S. Ga-dzhieva, A. Geraibeili, I. Dagestanly, A. Dzhavadov, A. Zeinalov, F. Kadri, A. Kurbanov, M. Mardanov, E. Olenskaia, I. Osmanly, M. Sanani, A. Sultanov, and B. G. Shekinskaia. The chief stage director is Honored Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR T. Kiazimov. The theater was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1949.
REFERENCESDzhafarov, Dzh. Teatr im. Azizbekova. Moscow, 1951.
Dzhafarov, Dzh. Azerbeijchen dram. teatry (1873–1941). Baku, 1959.