Presented by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, and generously sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), the Azerbaijani musical comedy "Arshin Mal Alan" (Cloth Peddler) was performed in Los Angeles on September 7, 2013 to great acclaim.
Composed by legendary Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli, author of the Islamic world's first opera and operetta, the musical was staged for the first time on Oct. 25, 1913 in Baku, Azerbaijan. This comic and romantic operetta, which was ahead of its time and rich in national characteristics and realism, is about pure love, women's rights, fight against outdated traditions, and aspiration for modern way of life free of damaging customs.
Held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, one of the world's largest and most renowned opera houses, the performance was attended by over 3000 Angelenos, as well as guests from many other California cities and U.S. states. The musical received well-deserved standing ovations and left the audience mesmerized.
Produced and newly adapted by award-winning American producer Michael Schnack, the operetta was performed by outstanding American opera singers, who sang in original Azerbaijani (with projected English translations) and spoke in English. A Hollywood orchestra of exquisite musicians played the music.
Dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the operetta, it is the first time that "Arshin Mal Alan" was performed at such a scale in the entire Western world.
Following the performance, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles hosted a reception attended by officials from the City and County of Los Angeles, Consuls General and Honorary Consuls of various countries, Hollywood actors, directors and composers, university professors, journalists and others. Speaking at the reception, Consul General Nasimi Aghayev called the performance of "Arshin Mal Alan" an enormously important event in the history of Azerbaijani culture. The Consul General characterized this successful performance as another triumph of the cultural diplomacy defined and guided by the President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev.
Addressing the audience, the Rector of Baku Music Academy Mr. Farhad Badalbayli, members of Azerbaijan's Parliament Sevinj Fataliyeva and Asim Mollazade stressed the importance of the performance and shared their impressions.
A proclamation of appreciation signed by all members of the Board of Supervisors of the 10 million-strong Los Angeles County was presented to Consul General Aghayev. The proclamation expresses gratitude for Azerbaijan's continuous contribution to the cultural diversity of Los Angeles and for bringing the globally renowned "Arshin Mal Alan" operetta to the County.
Speaking afterwards, the famous Hollywood actor, known to the audience primarily as "Apollo Creed" from "Rocky" sequels, shared his best impressions about the performance and stressed the significance of continuing such cultural projects. He cordially thanked the Consulate General for introducing him to the rich music and culture of Azerbaijan.
It should be mentioned that immediately following the performance, via various websites and social media many American attendees expressed their appreciation of the operetta and its production, as well as the professionalism and superb vocal and artistic skills of the performers.