Opera "Koroghlu" is truly the best point in U. Hajibeyov's creativity,
an original masterpiece, in which he has expressed in the musical
form all ideas exciting him - heroics of the people-winner led
by the national headman Koroghlu. This opera has won love of all
people during the shortest time and has marked a new stage in
development of Azerbaijan art.
U. Hajibeyov's perfect music inextricably related with the richest
traditions of national musical creativity has by stable bonds
united them with modern composition forms.
Opera "Koroghlu" is really folk and originally national product,
in which the composer managed to very realistically open a subject
of people struggle for freedom and independence, to create bright
and historically truthful national images.
The composer tells about his work at the opera: "While working
at "Koroghlu" I have put before myself an object to create a national
in form opera using achievements of modern musical culture. For
implementation of such an idea the composer was required for not
only serious theoretical preparation, but also deep studying of
national creativity, mastering of that style, which enables to
speak with people in understandable for them language... It was
important to penetrate the opera with breath of national music."
Plot basis of "Koroglu" is an ashyg saga about country revolt
and people's liberation struggle in XVI - XVII centuries. This
legend has a set of variants and has long since got wide popularity
not only in Azerbaijan, but also in Turkey, in the countries of
Transcaucasia and Central Asia.
In Hajibeyov's concept it has got the big public-social sense
and modern sounding. The composer has written an opera about historical
destiny of people. Not only his immemorial aspiration to escape
from gloom to light, but also his real, joyful victory is embedded
M.S. Ordubadi wrote all the poetic text of the libretto. Writer
G. Ismayilov has also been involved in work at the libretto. Hajibeyov
himself actively participated in creation of literary basis of
the opera. It is typical that the libretto and music were created
almost in parallel.
Struggle of two opposite forces: people, on the one hand, and
local feudal lords, on the other hand - that makes a dramaturgic
basis of the opera "Koroghlu". Development of the opera dramaturgy
is caused by show of people's increasing struggle for enfranchisement
of oppressors' yoke and his victories over enemies of the Native
land. Thus, driving force of history - people is the active, conducting,
all-conquering power determining the basic idea of the entire
product. This entails deep nationality of the opera.
"Koroghlu" is an epic opera. Monumental mass - choral and dancing
scenes gradually accumulating peasants' collective image is magnificent
U. Hajibeyov with remarkable sequence shows increase of national
anger, change of psychology and people's mood from downtroddenness
and fear to an exulting free song in the scene in mountains of
Special dramaturgic value in the opera is got through choral scenes
connected with personification of people's image.
Starting from the first choral scene up to the last one, Hajibeyov
has successively opened characters of struggling peasants with
many pronged plans, embodied in music their oppressed position,
gradually growing protest, proud, courageous inflexibility. Culmination
top in the opera is a majestic chorus "Chanlibel". This remarkable
musical part with huge art force expresses unbending will and
power of freedom-loving Azerbaijan people.
Dances are also an organic part of action in the opera. The dances
describing heroic look of people are collective dancing "Yalli",
"Jangi" arisen from extreme antiquity and externalized courageous
and cheerful character of the Azerbaijani.
Images of the nation and his heroes are brightly stamped in music
of the Overture of the opera. Overture of "Koroghlu" represents
the integral symphonic picture reflecting a basic idea of the
Entr'acte to the 3-rd action also concerns to bright symphonic
episodes. He displays heroic spirit of people, but as though through
a prism of the nature description, a severe landscape of high
mountains Chenlibel with unapproachable fortress of Koroghlu.
The protagonist of the opera is Koroghlu (Rovshan), the outstanding
person gifted with high spiritual qualities, courage and bravery.
During long time the Azerbaijan people went into battle accompanied
by sounds of "Jangi", Koroghlu's fighting march. And these rhythms
penetrating the opera create that heroic aggressive spirit dictated
by the epoch. Therefore Koroghlu became a symbol of the very people,
the mouthpiece of all their thoughts and expectations. Koroghlu's
image is displayed gradually and dynamically. In the beginning
we hear his passionate appeal to struggle, and then he appears
as a courageous, fearless bogatyr. Koroghlu is an ashyg and he
is praised in ashygs' songs, therefore prevailing style in the
opera is ashyg's style. It is especially felt in Koroghlu's ashyg
Alongside with unveiling of Koroghlu's character as a hero and
ashyg, the author devoted a significant place to his lyrical feelings
of love to Nigar. Koroghlu's aria excites the listener with depth
of idea, the big melodiousness and geniality. In this aria Koroghlu
faces us not only as a hero-bogatyr, the soldier - fighter, but
also the hero really loving and scooping of this love inspiration
for heroic feats in the name of people's freedom.
Nigar's portrait on the realness, truthfulness and femininity
occupies one of the first places in the gallery of female images
created by the composer. Nigar is not only the loving, gentle
girl, Koroghlu's beloved. She is his worthy girlfriend, courageous,
brave, and capable to give a dare to all khans' faces. She gallantly
and proudly resists to cruel Hasan-khan.
Hasan-khan is embodiment of despotism brilliantly expressed in
music. In his aria the ambitious, ruthless khan nature is underlined,
complacency and feeling of the boundless authority is reflected.
The aria laconically and boldly recreates a severe, imperious
image of the khan. This aria pertains to one of the best voice
parts of the opera. Khan's image is impressive in the cruelty,
gloom; shaking the spectator, he causes feeling of disgust and
Among negative faces the special place belongs to the fool playing
a double role. He helps Koroghlu's captivity, at the same time
he differs with the sneers about the court elite. The clown's
guise is expressed in the song written in harmony of national
comic songs. This episode is one of the important points in the
action development. The fool suggests catching Koroghlu by ruse
having sent the traitor into his camp.
For the first time the talented Azerbaijan producer I. Idayat-zadeh
put the opera "Koroghlu" on the stage of the Baku Theatre of Opera
and Ballet in April 1937. The author conducted himself. Glorified
Azerbaijan singer Bulbul was the first performer of Koroghlu's
role. Acting in this complex role during all his life he has created
musically scenic image of great art importance.
Outstanding Azerbaijan conductor Niyazi cut a conspicuous figure
in displaying of composer's art plan. Ashraf Hasanov conducted
the opera over many years. In roles of other characters acted
G. Iskenderova (Nigar), M.Bagirov (Hasan-khan), G. Iskenderov
(clown), H. Huseynov (Hamza bey), G. Almaszade (dancer), etc.
Over following years, talented performers L.Imanov (Koroghlu),
F.Ahmedova, F.Kasimova (Nigar), etc. came to the front. Nowadays
the opera is again staged having acquainted us with new bright
names of performers.
At present the opera is in repertoire of such conductors as Rauf
Abdullayev, Javanshir Jafarov, Yalchin Adigezalov.
"Koroghlu" is one of few operas put in different languages - Azerbaijani,
Russian, Armenian, Turkmen and Uzbek. Hajibeyov's opera was put
in Ashkhabad (1939), in Yerevan (1942), in Tashkent (1950). While
going on tour in Iran the Azerbaijan theatre showed "Koroghlu"
in Tabriz (1941), and in Moscow on days of decades of the Azerbaijan
art in 1938 and 1959.
Significance of "Koroghlu" by Hajibeyov is not limited to frameworks
of national culture. This work is today perceived as the original
musical creation brought into the world by progressive searches
of the advanced art idea of Azerbaijan of XX century, and as the
phenomenon of the world musical fund having national and international
Libretto by M. Ordubadi, L. Zorin's translation.
Premiere: on April 30, 1937 in Baku.