Young opera singer talks about his memorable performances [PHOTO]

25 March 2020 14:53 (UTC+04:00)

By Laman Ismayilova

Young opera singer Maharram Huseynov has taken the music scene by storm with his magnificent performances. Last year was especially remarkable for the young talent as he shared the same stage with word-famous opera stars and took part in popular opera productions.

In 2019, Maharram Huseynov successfully performed in many operas, including opera for children "The Elixir of Love", directed by Grisha Azagarov, where he played Dr Dulcamara. There were twenty performances in La Scala and three in Geneva and Sicily.

His performance in  "Khovanshchina" became another major event for the opera singer, who played the role of the Lutheran shepherd.

"It was a great musical event as the opera was held under the guidance of one of the greatest conductors Valery Gergiev. I was very surprised to perform in the opera conducted by Valery Gergiev and share the same stage with the greatest mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk. It is a great joy for me to perform with such artists. There is much you can learn from them”, the opera singer told Azernews.

Maharram Huseynov also took part in Salieri's opera "First the music and then the words", premiered in La Scala last year. The opera, directed by Grisha Azagarov, is distinguished by its originality and beauty.

Speaking about his performance, Maharram Huseynov noted one of the greatest baritones Ambrogio Maestri, who also performed in the opera.

"He is a wonderful artist, whose voice blooms and fills the concert hall. He is an amazing actor and artist. I have learned working with him. I remember how he helped me to get over my worries. There were moments when he gave me advices as a friend and my fellow. We are good friends now. All these performances enjoyed major success. It was a remarkable experience for me. On the same day we also performed in one-act opera "Gianni Schicchi", directed by Woody Allen. The role of Gianni Schicchi was performed by Ambrogio Maestri, while I played the role of Guccio”, said Huseynov.

The opera singer also shined in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto opera, playing Count Monterone. It was a historical opera production that was staged in La Scala for the first time in 1994 under the guidance of Riccardo Muti. He performed together with one of the greatest baritones of the 20th century Leo Nucci.

"Leo Nucci is one of the greatest baritones of the 20th century, who performed the role of Rigoletto more than 600 times over his career. This figure speaks for itself.  I performed the role of Count Monterone. It is not big, but psychologically difficult role for me. Everything about the opera was very harmonious. Gilbert Deflo is an incredible director. He gave workshops in La Scala Academy. I think that Gilbert Deflo is one of the greatest directors. For me, these performances are unforgettable. The opera was staged under the guidance of one of the best conductors Daniel Oren", he said.

Azerbaijani opera singer also debuted at Teatro Comunale di Modena, where he performed in Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme". The opera was directed by Leo Nucci.

"The opera was amazing! There was nothing superfluous. Everything was like it was meant to be. It was a classical production, precisely how Puccini wrote this score", the opera singer said.

Maharram Huseynov aslo noted an interesting fact about Puccini. The Italian composer paid great attention to details in his work. Thus, Leo Nucci directed this opera very accurately, based on Puccini`s score. The opera "La Boheme" was broadcast live.

"The opera "La Boheme" was also staged at the Teatro Municipale di Piacenza, where I performed with my close friend, opera singer Azer Rzazade. I still remember this time as the two friends have shared the same theater stage in Italy. We were the only Azerbaijanis in the theater. As to the opera production, it was spectacular," he added.

Moreover, a great surprise was awaiting Azerbaijani opera singers by the end of the opera. 

Azerbaijani ambassador to Italy Mammad Ahmadzade congratulated Maharram Huseynov and Azer Rzazade with their performance.

"He shook our hands and said: We are proud of you! I was very pleased to hear these words. They caused strong emotions in me. It was a great pleasure that two Azerbaijanis, two friends performed in that theater and heard such words," said Huseynov.

In 2019, the opera singer also performed in UNESCO headquarters together with Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Fuad Ibrahimov. The concert marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

"For me, it was a great pleasure to perform under the guidance of amazing conductor and musician Fuad Ibrahimov. It was a great pleasure to work with him. The concert enjoyed great success", he said.

This year, the opera singer took part in a gala concert program timed to the opening of "2020-the Year of Azerbaijani Culture in Italy”.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella and his daughter Laura Mattarella attended the event held at Quirinale Palace in Rome. The concert featured music pieces by outstanding Azerbaijani and Italian composers.

His incredible talent didn't go unnoticed by the state. In February, the opera singer received the Azerbaijan Youth Award.

“I would like to note that I am a presidential scholar since 2011. I was also supported by Heydar Aliyev Foundation while studying at La Scala Academy. This year I have received Azerbaijan Youth Award, which is a great honor for me. It is a great pleasure when your state supports you. Nothing can compare to that. I would like to note the concert that was held during President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Italy. The concert was held after the awarding ceremony. It was a great responsibility to perform at that concert. The concert was conducted by Fuad Ibrahimov. As I said, it was a great pleasure to perform with such professional. The concert was held at the highest level.

As the opera singer says, it can be challenging to perform some opera characters.

"Sometimes it is very difficult to perform roles that do not have anything in common with your own character. It is a very hard work that shows the artist`s level of professionalism. It does not always depend on the artist himself but also on the director and his view. Some directors present their works in a new way, which can change the character," he said.

The opera singer always tries to get into the character and delight the audience with his performance. 

Speaking about his favorite opera characters, Maharram Huseynov noted the Demon in Giovanni Battista`s musical drama The Conversion and Death of Saint William, Guglielmo in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart`s opera buffa “All Women Do It, or The School for Lovers” as well as characters that he would like to play.

"In 2016, I performed in baroque opera The Conversion and Death of Saint William, where I played in the role of demon. I had never known this opera and character before. It was the first time when I performed in baroque opera. I have never expected to enjoy baroque opera, especially this character," he said.

“I also like to play Mozart`s characters like Don Giovanni, Guglielmo. At that time we had a joint tour with San Carlo Opera Theater and together we performed in Dubai Opera. There are also characters that I would like to play such as Figaro, King Philip II and Attila. No matter which roles you play, you should love all your characters for successful performance," he added.

The young talent is planning to perform at Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theater together with famous opera singers Azer Rzazade and Javid Samadov. As the opera singer says, it is a great pleasure and honor for him to perform in his home country.

"Although we live in another country, we always remember where we come, the place where everything started… There are many things that link us to our home country. That’s why it is a great pleasure and responsibility to perform in Azerbaijan. We are looking forward to our native public. Moreover, I am also planning to debut at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.  In this theater, I am going to perform in Giuseppe Verdi`s opera “ A Masked Ball”, directed by Davide Livermore. This production is often staged in the Bolshoi Theater with opera stars, including one of the greatest tenors Francesco Meli, Krassimira Stoanova as well as one of the best baritones Carlos Alvarez," said Huseynov.

Maharram Huseynov concluded the interview with an advice for young, aspiring opera singers.

“You should love what you do and always believe in yourself. Never stop working hard towards achieving your goals,” he said.


Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova

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