Speech of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, after the performance of the comedy \"Arhsin mal alan\" (\"The cloth peddler\") by the great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, AzerbaijanNational Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, September 21, 1997

  I congratulate you. Today together with my friend Ihsan Dogramaci and other foreign visitors we watched the operetta \"Arhsin mal alan\" by Uzeyir Hajibeyov in your performance. I think that it is a great event in the theatre life of Azerbaijan. \"Arhsin mal alan\" has a great history. While watching the play, I was thinking. It was composed in 1911, then it staged in Azerbaijan; then a film on it was shot. As a play and a film, this comedy has wandered through the world. You have staged this comedy at the Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theatre very well. It is a great cultural achievement. I congratulate you on this achievement. I wish you more successes.

All the works Uzeyir Hajibeyov are immortal. So is \"Arhsin mal alan\". It has always been staged by our great actors. But its world-wide fame came with the film directed by Rza Tehmasib in 1946. Perhaps you remember that film which wandered through the world. The youth may not remember that movie so well. But for our generation, its release abroad was a great event. It gladdened us.

While watching the play in your performance, I thought that we must remember gratefully our great men of theatre and cinema who staged this operetta. We can never forget the immortal composer of our people Uzeyir Hajibeyov. September 18 was his 112th anniversary. We celebrated his 110th anniversary in 1995.

Ihsan bey, I remember the celebrations of Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s 90th, 100th, 110th anniversaries under my leadership. How pleasant this history is!

Ihsan Dogramaci: If God allows, we`ll celebrate Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s 200th anniversary as well.

Heydar Aliyev: On September 18, we celebrated Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s 112th anniversary. 50 years ago, in 1946 Rza Tehmasib created the film \"Arhsin mal alan\". Perhaps none of you has seen him.


Yashar Nuriyev: I was his student.

Heydar Aliyev: Therefore, you play Soltan bey so well. A nice person, Rza Tehmasib created a good collective, including our immortal singer Rashid Behbudov, or Lelya Bedirbeyli who played Gulchohra in that film. Veli was performed by Lutfali Abdullayev, another great actor. They performed this play very well. Many actors have performed the characters of \"Arshin mal alan\" on stage. However, the film is remembered more. Because in every season different actors perform the characters at theatre; it is impossible in the film.

You are a new creative generation, successors of the previous ones. At the end of the 20th century you staged this play again. I think that it was performed well. \"Arhsin mal alan\" is immortal; the people watching the performance applauded you enthusiastically. But it is new for our guests. Even though they don`t know our language, they watched you with interest via translation.

It is good that the performers consist mostly of youth. I remember Rza Tehmasib, Rashid Behbudov. I was young, too, when \"Arshin mal alan\" was shot. I watched Rashid Behbudov, Lelya Bedirbeyli and Lutfali Abdullayev with great interest. Later we could get and work together. I respected all of them. As the head of the republic, I appreciated their services.

As you see, we have the young generation on the stage. Our young singer Azer Zeynalov replaced Rashid Behbudov as Asker. I see Zemfira Ismailova, who performed Gulchohra for the first time. We all know very well Yashar Nuriyev who played Soltan bey. Asya, Veli, Suleyman are performed by the young actors. Once Aunt Jahan was performed by Munevver Kelenterli, who was a great actress. Untoubdetly, you follow them; you have a nice style.

You are still young. You have a great way ahead. I want you to work hard as the previous performers Lutfali Abdullayev, Rashid Behbudov, Lelya Bedirbeyli. I knew them very well; we used to be friends. I saw them working hard, achieving new successes. I recommend it to you, too.

I congratulate you once again. I wish you good health and new achievements.

\"Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is forever\" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, appeals , decrees)- 12th colume, Azerneshr, Baku - 2004, p. 174