Arshin mal alan sold out for US premiere

In less than 24 hours Los Angeles, the movie capital of the world, will see the premiere of Arshin mal alan (The Cloth Peddler), a world-known operetta by great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli.
The musical comedy will be staged to a full house at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as it is already sold out.
Considered to be the first of its kind in the entire Muslim world, The Cloth Peddler is celebrating its centenary. The operetta has been successfully performed in a plenty of languages in over 60 countries of the world, including in China, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Six years ago it was staged in Vienna, Austria, in collaboration with Michael Schnack, award-winning producer of tomorrow`s staging in Los Angeles. It is the first time that this unique musical comedy will be performed at such a scale in the English-speaking world in general, and in the U.S. in particular.
“I`m so excited. We`ll watch the premiere of The Cloth Peddler operetta by Uzeyir Hajibeyli tomorrow. I heard it 20 years ago for the first time. And tomorrow we all will have an opportunity to see and listen to it. With breathtaking plot, the operetta will be played by American actors. Amazing music. A touching story of love. I hope our audience will love it,” said Los Angeles resident Betsy Blair.
Hundred years ago helped by oil tycoon and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, Uzeyir Hajibeyli presented his brainchild to the world. Symbolically, hundred years later this masterpiece of Hajibeyli is staged in the USA with the support from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCA), a major actor on the global energy market. The Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles greatly contributed to organizing the event.
Uzeyir Hajibeyli wrote The Cloth Peddler in 1913, when he was a student at the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire. The young composer showed his work to his teacher, professor Kalafati, who then presented it to rector Glazunov. In his diary, Hajibeyli wrote: “Reference about the operetta surpassed all my expectations. Great Glazunov said that the first musical operetta emerged in Russia.” It was first staged at Tagiyev Theatre in Baku by Arablinsky on October 25, 1913. The staging was a success. This was followed by attempts to plagiarize the masterpiece. In 1915, some alleged that The Cloth Peddler was an Armenian operetta, which laid a sad tradition of appropriating the work. Armenian musician Sedrak Magalyan first asked permission to translate the operetta into Armenian, but then removed the author`s name from playbills. It was just the beginning. Then emerged Vaskanian`s troupe, and others. The operetta then was screened by an Armenian film director, without showing the author`s name. But these tricks did not work because the setting of the play takes place in the heart of the Nagorno-Karabakh- in Shusha. Eastern traditions do not allow a man to even catch a glimpse of his potential bride before the wedding. So main character Asgar, a successful businessman, disguises himself as a cloth peddler (Arhisn mal alan) as suggested by his friend Suleyman. Cloth peddlers were entering the courtyard of private homes where all the women gathered around them to purchase their goods. Now Asgar had a chance to gain entrance to any home to choose himself a bride. This comic and romantic operetta is full of songs and humor. The story ends happily with the main characters celebrating their marriage. All costumes for the American premiere of the play were made in Baku.
“We made beautiful costumes. The last wedding scene will feature 20 actors playing in national costumes. The costumes are very bright. They fully reflect our national colours. It`sa a brilliant opportunity to show the world the beauty of Azerbaijan`s national clothing,” said Konul Velibeyli, Artistic Director of Baku House of National Clothing.
A story of love in the Muslim East is a source of great interest for a westerner. The performers will be singing in Azerbaijani (with projected English translations) and speaking in English. While the orchestra is now having a rehearsal, we are looking forward to The Cloth Peddler conquering Los Angeles.


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