September 19, 2023

Presentation of the long-awaited ballet “Legend of Love” takes place at the Heydar Aliyev Palace

Presentation of the ballet “Legend of Love” by eminent composer, People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Arif Melikov took place at the Heydar Aliyev Palace.


Inauguration of the Uzeir Hajibeyli 15th International Music Festival, organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Education, started by the demonstration of the ballet “Legend of Love”, which had conquered the world, on September 18 – the National Music Day.


The ballet “Legend of Love” was presented during two days – on 18 and 19 September - at the Heydar Aliyev Palace. With its charming music, stage design, this grandiose presentation was the best gift to the spectators on the National Music Day.


An exhibition was arranged in the foyer of the Heydar Aliyev Palace in this regard. Posters of the ballet “Legend of Love” so far played and photos and information related to Arif Melikov’s creativity were displayed at the exhibition.


There were also guests from other countries coming to this music festival, to watch the presentation of the ballet “Legend of Love”. Among them were artistic director of “Arena di Verona”, one of the largest and most famous concert halls of Italy, Stefano Trespidi, founder of the factory producing world-renowned grand-piano FAZİOLI Paolo Fazioli, Russia’s famous ballet artist Nikolay Tsiskaridze, who had been one of the actors of Farhad in “Legend of Love”.


As in 1961, this time too, the play was staged by design of famous artist Simon Virsaladze. So, over 200 costumes, as well as decorations and requisites were prepared by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, based on Simon Virsaladze’s original sketches.


Along with the troupe of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Azerbaijan and artists of the State Dance Ensemble of Azerbaijan, soloists invited from foreign country theatres also participated in this unforgettable presentation.


Princess Mehmenebanu was acted by leading soloist of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Azerbaijan, laureate of international ballet artists contests, presidential prize winner Ayan Eyvazova, with Farhad being acted by leading actor of Russia’s famous Bolshoi Theatre, laureate of international ballet artists contests Denis Rodkin, while leading soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre, laureate of international ballet artists contests Maria Vinogradova played Shirin.


Arif Melikov composed the ballet “Legend of Love” to the libretto written by renowned Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet based on the drama “Farhad and Shirin”. Nazim Hikmet wrote the work taking inspiration from the poem “Farhad and Shirin” by eminent Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi. Arif Melikov gave a new life to the work about tragic love and sacrifice in the form of music. The composer started to work on the ballet consisting of 3 acts and 7 scenes since 1958, completing it for two years. 


The premiere of the ballet “Legend of Love” took place on March 23, 1961 at the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre (now Saint Petersburg State Academic Theatre), later it took place on the stage of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Azerbaijan. Staging director of this ballet, justly called a masterpiece, is Yuri Grigorovich. The Baku premiere was presented by staging of assistants of Grigorovich - chief choreographer-director Oksana Tsvetnitskaya and chief choreographer of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Azerbaijan, Honoured Artist of Russia Ruslan Pronin. First conductor of the work when it was first staged was Niyazi. The magnificent music of the ballet “Legend of Love” at the Heydar Aliyev Palace was presented by the Azerbaijan State Symphonic Orchestra named after Uzeir Hajibeyli, conducted by People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Yalchyn Adygozalov.


To date, the ballet “Legend of Love” has been repeatedly played at over 60 theatres of various countries by staging of eminent choreographers. The ballet was welcomed in such countries as USA, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, the Great Britain, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Türkiye, Ukraine, Japan etc.


It is not accidental that the Legend of Love, Arif Melikov’s masterpiece, was presented in the Year of Heydar Aliyev. The year 2023 is the 100th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, and 90th anniversary of eminent composer Arif Melikov. National Leader Heydar Aliyev highly valued eminent composer Arif Melikov both as an artist and as human.  Arif Melikov, on his part, has shown his love and esteem towards National Leader Heydar Aliyev in his creativity, dedicating the 8th Symphony of the composer called “Eternity» to the National Leader.