Articles & Notes — August 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Russia to show documentary on Azerbaijani singer Muslim Magomayev

muslim magomayevA special documentary film about great Azerbaijani and Russian singer Muslim Magomayev will be shown on Russia’s TV-channel, marking singer’s 70th birthday (August 17).

The film titled “Draw then sing” will be shown on Russian “Culture” channel on August 18.

After the film, a special concert devoted to Magomayev will be hosted, called “Muslim Magomayev. Greatest singers of 20th Century”.

Muslim Mahammad oglu Magomayev (August 17, 1942 – October 25, 2008), dubbed the “King of Songs” and the “Soviet Sinatra” was a Soviet and Azerbaijani baritone operatic and pop singer of the 1960s and 1970s.

He achieved iconic status in Russia and the post-Soviet countries, including his native Azerbaijan, for his vocal talent and charisma.

Magomayev was awarded several honors including People’s Artist of Azerbaijan, People’s Artists of the USSR (1973), Order of Honour (Russian Federation), Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of Friendship of Peoples, Istiglal Order, and Order of “Heart of Darko.”

He became the art director of the Azerbaijan State Bandstand-Symphonic Orchestra in 1975 and toured in France, Bulgaria, Finland, and Canada.

Magomayev represented one of the most respected artistic dynasties in Azerbaijan. His grandfather Muslim Magomayev (1885–1937), a friend and contemporary of the prominent Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, was one of the founders of modern Azerbaijani classical music.

Magomayev was 19 when he first performed at an international youth music festival in Helsinki. In 1962, at the age of 20, Magomayev first appeared in Moscow where he performed during the Days of Azerbaijani Culture.

He sang an aria from Gounod’s Faust, and the song Do the Russians Want War?” in a gala concert at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, and became a celebrity on the spot.

A year later, he gave his first solo concert in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Concert Hall to a full house and became a soloist of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Magomayev earned fame in the USSR as an opera singer with his performance in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. He also became known for his arias from Puccini’s “Tosca”, Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s “Koroghlu” and “Shah Ismayil”, which was composed by his grandfather.

In 1964–1965, Muslim was a visiting artist at La Scala in Milan, but turned down the invitation to sing in the Moscow Bolshoi Theater upon his return. Instead, the singer turned to popular music, becoming a pop idol for several generations of music lovers in the Soviet Union.

Magomayev’s popularity in the USSR was overwhelming. He quickly became a cult figure and gave three concerts a day filling huge arenas all across the Soviet Union, while his albums sold millions.

In 1966 and 1969, Magomayev performed in Paris Olympia with great success. The director of Olympia Bruno Coquatrix offered him a contract, and Magomayev was seriously considering an opportunity to pursue an international career, but was forced to be given the Ministry of Culture’s permission, since it needed Magomayev to perform at government concerts.

In 1969 he received the MIDEM Gold Disc Award in Cannes for album sales of over 4,5 million units. In 1973, at the age of 31, Muslim was awarded the Soviet Union’s highest artistic title: People’s Artist of the USSR.

Magomayev was also known as a composer, writing several film soundtracks. In addition, Magomayev acted in films and hosted television and radio broadcasts devoted to prominent musicians of the 20th century.

As an actor, Magomayev appeared in three films: “When the song does not end” (1965), “Troubadour aka the Detective” (1971), and “Nizami” (1982).

Magomayev moved to Moscow in the early 1970s, where he worked in theater. In 1997, in recognition of Magomayev’s professional successes, a Russian astronomical society named a planetoid of the solar system in his honor, 4980 Magomayev.

Magomayev was an influence on many important musical figures including Alla Pugacheva, who often spoke fondly of him.

In 1998, Magomayev officially stopped his musical career and gave only a few performances together with his wife. He died on October 25, 2008 in his flat in Moscow from a heart attack.

He was buried in the Alley of Honors in his native city of Baku, next to his grandfather, on October 29.

The funeral ceremony was attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Magomayev’s widow Tamara Sinyavskaya, his daughter Marina, as well as state officials and international delegations. Thousands of people came to pay a final tribute to the singer.



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