Destan Sayatly-Khemra Turned into Opera

The Magtymguly Turkmen Music and Drama Theater has again treated opera lovers to a production of Aman Agajikov's and Nurygandym Khojamuhammedov's opera Sayatkhan, based on the destan Sayatly-Khemra (the libretto by Alty Karliev and Atamyrat Atabaev).

For the record, the large-scale production was premiered on June 26, 2016 at the Kemine State Drama Theater as part of a Culture Week in Mary velayat.

According to the producers, the epic was chosen thanks to its genre versatility, dramatic plot and life-affirming ending. The lavish opera production gives listeners the chance to fully immerse themselves in unique folk traditions and rites. The producers modernized and adapted the folk story to make it more flexible and bring it closer to contemporary audiences.

... Musician Khemra dreams about an angel, who tells him that a ruler's beautiful daughter, Sayatkhan, from a neighboring country, Gyzylalma, is destined to become his wife. After the dream the young man loses his peace of mind. Khemra decides to travel to Gyzylalma to meet the charming girl. Eager to help his son, Ashik Akhmed joins him.

Many adventures await them � they have fallen out of favor with Sayatkhan twice and have been arrested on her orders. But the young man's love touches a place deep inside the beautiful girl's heart. Sayatkhan and Khemra decide to escape so that nobody can separate them. But Mammetsoyun and his people catch up with them on the way. The daughter desperately begs her father to let them go. Mammetsoyun's heart melts at last. The story with dramatic conflicts ends with an exciting finale - colorful wedding celebrations.

- We specifically chose this production at the time when the Turkmen capital plays host to important events as part of our country's chairmanship of the CIS this year, - director, Honored Art Worker of Turkmenistan Aynazar Batyrov says in an interview. - The epic carries a message of popularization, offers insights into Turkmen music and dramatic art, and helps to get the feel of mental traditions in creative work and a dialogue of artistry and quest.

The production is rather novel, we have added a story of Selbiniyaz who is in love with Khemra and does not want him to go and seek for beautiful Sayatkhan.

The adaptation is naturally interlaced with folk songs. People's Artist of Turkmenistan Nurygandym Khojamuhammedov tells about this:

- When I was offered to adapt the work by Aman Agajikov for a new production, my objective was to preserve its compositional harmony. Aman Agajikov's music is light and delicately balanced. And I tried my best to use the folk melodies in such a manner that they are in accord with the maestro's exquisite style.

What sets the opera production apart from others is its cast. Vocalists from different regions of the country perform the leading roles. For instance, teacher of the M. Garlyev Dashoguz Special School of Fine Arts Begdurdy Cherkezov sings the part of Khemra; actress of the S. Seidi State Music and Drama Theater (Lebap velayat) Shirinjan Gurbanova � the part of Sayatkhan; actress of the Kemine State Drama Theater (Mary velayat) Gozel Annakhanova � the part of Selbiniyaz.

The director's choice testifies to the active creative pursuits and efforts to give talented young singers the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and to gain professional experience alongside with accomplished opera singers: People's Artist of Turkmenistan Atageldy Garyagdyev (Mammetsoyun) and Atajan Berdyev (Ashik Akhmet). The production also features students of the Turkmen National Conservatory named after Maya Kulieva.

The performance also stands out with its original set designs, and colorful costumes that highlight the meaning and show the scope of the adaptation.

Theater lovers and guests to Ashgabat enthusiastically welcomed the new interpretation of the famous destan.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper