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"Koroghlu" opera of U.Hajibeyov

The candidate of art criticism, the docent
of Baku Musical Academy Jamila Hasanova prepared the lecture
The author reads the lecture.
1 2

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 in music.

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 here.

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 Chanlibel.

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 opera.

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 songs.

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 anger.

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 value.

Libretto by M. Ordubadi, L. Zorin's translation.
Premiere: on April 30, 1937 in Baku.


   © Musigi Dunyasi, 2005