(real name, Martuza Meshadi Rza ogly Mamedov). Born June 12, 1897, in the small town of Khanbaga, near the city of Shusha; died Sept. 26, 1961, in Baku. Soviet Azerbaijani singer (lyric-dramatic tenor) and folklore musicologist. People’s Artist of the USSR (1938).
Biul’-Biul’ was one of the founders of the Azerbaijani musical theater. He began his creative career as a singer—a khanende, or performer of Azerbaijani mugams (a kind of folk music) and folk songs. (Because of his talent, he acquired the nickname Biul’-Biul’, which means “nightingale” in Azerbaijani.) In 1920 he became a soloist with the Azerbaijan State Theater (later called the M. F. Akhundov Theater of Opera and Ballet). In 1927 he graduated from the Baku Conservatory (in N. I. Speranskii’s class) and was sent to Milan to perfect his art. He sang the parts of Ker-oglï (Gadzhibekov’s Ker-oglï), Ash-ug-Garib (Glière’s Shahsenem), Saro (Tigranian’s Anush), the Duke (Verdi’s Rigoletto), Cavaradossi (Puccini’s Tosca), and others. He also appeared as a concert singer. In 1932 he began teaching, and from 1940 was a professor at the Azerbaijan Conservatory. He was an organizer and director of the Republic Scholarly Research Council of Music (1932-44), and was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR at its first, second, and third convocations. He received the State Prize of the USSR for a performance of Azerbaijani folksongs (1950) and was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and medals.