On September 7th, 2013 Los Angeles has hosted the premiere of Arshin mal alan (The Cloth Peddler), a world- known operetta by great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli.
This 100-year-old musical comedy with a breathtaking love story and amazing music is considered to be the first operetta of the entire Muslim world, and has been successfully performed in scores of languages in over 60 countries!
The operetta was performed by an all American team and produced by famous director Michael Schnack. Actors had diligent rehearsals for several months. They said the toughest thing to do was to learn to sing in Azerbaijani.
James Judd, who played the musical comedy`s main character, Asgar, said it took them a long time to learn the words of arias.
Asha Lindsey, who played Gulchohra, said she learned a lot about Azerbaijan`s history and culture, as well as Islam when she played in Arhshin mal alan for the first time seven years ago.
“I have many Azerbaijani friends. I can tell much about this unique country. I know very well what my character wants. If Gulchohra lived now, she would have been very brave,” Lindsey added.
Michael Schnack said the Americans have a different approach to tradition, especially in an artistic sense. “Younger generations in America are open to changes. One of the reasons why Azerbaijan is of such interest to Americans is that the West was once strongly influencing this country.”
The musical comedy was played to a full house at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, one of the premier opera houses of the world also famous for hosting Oscar Awards ceremonies in 1970-90s.
An audience of 3,000 people enjoyed this comic and romantic story of love full of songs and humor for about two hours. The performance received a standing ovation.