Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unknown Azerbaijan...First female opera composer in the Orient - Shafiga Akhundova...

I was brought up in a family where praising yourself was considered as impolite and inappropriate…one of the most common things that I remember is my father saying “one should not praise herself in front of the others, let others do it…” the same applied to praising once children before others etc…I call it humbleness and modesty that hopefully will be still existent in lets say XXII century...currently they are under big "pressure"...

Years passed…I grew up…saw other people…started analysing…now I can draw almost a clear line between what my dad used to say and what my country was doing…never phrasing its children in front of others and waiting for/expecting others to do it…and that does not happen very often…

Lately thankfully Azerbaijan started working on its PR and if I may say “marketing” but we are very behind and historically have missed the opportunity of creating THE image of Azerbaijan…left it to others to do???

To prove the above I have a rhetoric question: how many people around the world know that first (!) female (!) opera composer (!) in the Orient is lady named Shafiga Akhundova who is actually Azerbaijani and who is actually from Sheki...

Ms Shafiga Akhundova was born in 1924 in Sheki. She graduated from Baku Musical School and Azerbaijan State Conservatory. In 1972 (!) she composed opera "Maiden Rock" thus becoming the first woman to create opera in the East. Shafiga xanum is the author of wonderful songs "Leyla", "Happy Land", operetta "Our home, our secret" (1965), pieces for string quartet, dramatic plays "Aydin", "Farewell to India!" "What do you live for?" etc and music to children's plays such as "A tale of a clown", "Birthday of a rabbit", etc.

One might argue who cares about who knows/who doesn’t...but if we recall Maslow's hierarchy of needs then I guess everyone cares...

Today’s post is devoted to Shafiga xanum who turned 85 in 2009, to her amazing talent and to her contribution to not only Azeri culture but if I may say to world-wide one...

below photo was taken around two years ago in Sheki when my father-in-law, Aslan Rustamov (another gifted Shekili), went over to visit Shafiga xanum in her summer house...

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8 comments:

Coşkun said...

Selam,
Sizin blogunuzu yeni gördüm. Takip edeceğim. Blogunuz çok hoş.
Türkçe yazdım inşallah anlaşılıyordur.
Hoşçakalın.

farida said...

Ayten, salam. It is great that you write on such important topics. Articles like this are not easily found on the Internet, especially in English. Brava to you. Happy B-day to Shafiga Axundova! I am proud of her!

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

She looks so elegant in her outfit at tea time.

Raffi said...

WoW Ayten, I was indirectly introduced to your blog by a fellow Armenian.

I didn't know that Shafiga was the first female opera composer in the Orient.

Thanks!

Nikki said...

Hi Ayten,

I have found this post when searching Google for info on Azeri operas (although I had visited your blog a few times before).

I would like to include information about Shafiga Xanim into the material that I am preparing but I want to make sure that I have evidence to support the claim that she was the first female opera composer in the world. Wiki offers only a short paragraph on the subject with the name of Dame Ethel Smyth (1858–1944) who lived about half a century earlier than Shafiga Xanim but I don't have information about her works:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_major_opera_composers#Major_female_opera_composers

If you have any sources that could help me substantiate the idea, I would greatly appreciate it.

Many thanks and best wishes to you and your wonderful blog,
Nikki

Ayten Qiyas-Rustamova said...

Hi Nikki, thank you for your comments!! I will get back to you on this let me call up some people. Could you please let me know your email?

Javid said...

it is my aunt. proud of her.

Rashid said...

Your father's thoughts about praising are becoming more topical today as Azerbaijan is showing it's wellness and "prosperity". But is it good for the people? I think, it is kind of controversial, if you understand me...

As to Shafiga Akhundova, I like her voice very much and I'm convinced that she is treasure we shouldn't hesitate to be proud of.

My best wishes to Shafiga and other great musicians from Azerbaijan!