In Commemoration of the Turkmen Nightingale: Medeniet Shakhberdyeva

People's Artist of Turkmenistan and the Soviet Union Medeniet (Maya) Shakhberdyeva was nicknamed the 'nightingale'. Where did that nickname come from? We have always had many opera singers with beautiful powerful voices! However, only one of them was immortalized in the history of national opera as the Turkmen nightingale!

Medeniet was brought up in a children's home in the city of Mary. By some quirk of fate, the musically talented girl was admitted to the Republican Music Boarding School, the violin department.

Following this path, Medeniet Shakhberdyeva could have become a good violinist. However, after the Music Boarding School, she was offered admission to Teacher Training Institute, the department of physics and mathematics because of Medeniet's rare talent for exact sciences recognized by her teachers, who said she was destined to be a great scientist But then something totally unexpected happened. Rather than applying to Teacher Training Institute, Medeniet with great determination applied for admission to the Academy of Music, the vocal department, on the same basis as anyone else. Strangely, the girl's natural talents for music and exact sciences were quickly spotted, but nobody took notice of her amazingly beautiful voice.

Members of the Admission Board were truly amazed by her performance, exclaiming: The nightingale, the Turkmen nightingale! What could the extraordinarily gifted singer be taught?! And then a totally unprecedented move was made. On completion of the first year Medeniet graduated from the Academy of Music.

The first-year student Medeniet Shakhberdyeva at the same time became a graduate, and was granted priority admission to the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory. She graduated from the Conservatory, where she was also called the Turkmen nightingale, with a first-class honors degree. When the singer began performing concerts, Alexander Alyabiev's famous romance 'The Nightingale' became one of the signature songs in her career

The Maya Kulieva Turkmen National Conservatory hosted an evening commemorating Medeniet Shakhberdyeva. This year, the great singer, who passed away three years ago, would have turned 90.

Relatives and friends gathered in the Conservatory's Big Hall to pay tribute to the Turkmen nightingale. Among them were Honored Art Worker of Turkmenistan, dancer Gozel Hummaeva; People's Artist of Turkmenistan and the singer's stage partner Gurt Nazarov; Honored Art Worker of Turkmenistan Rovshen Nepesov; the author of the book called 'Medeniet Shakhberdyeva' Parakhat Cherkezov; the singer's cousin, journalist Guljakhan Shakhberdyeva, and others.

Speakers at the event shared their memories of the Turkmen nightingale, paying tribute to the outstanding singer, who was known for her personal charm, love of and deep reverence for art, and considerate attitude towards her partners. Rovshen Nepesov remembered a funny incident. As a student, he once provided piano accompaniment to Medeniet Shakhberdyeva and was so nervous that he did not enter in the correct key. Later, when he confessed that it was he who spoiled the performance, Shakhberdyeva reacted very emotionally. The musician and composer will remember this lesson forever.

Accomplished singers and Medeniet Shakhberdyeva's fellow workers at the Conservatory performed the best pieces from her operatic repertoire. One of the parts of the evening of music featured Turkmen composers' works dedicated to Shakhberdyeva. And the audience eagerly awaited 'The Nightingale'

Alyabiev's 'The Nightingale' performed by Medeniet Shakhberdyeva's student Zhanna Sayan provided a fitting finale to the evening. Like her mentor, Zhanna is a coloratura soprano, and this helped the singer to make her singing very close to Shakhberdyeva's distinctive vocal style. Thunderous applause greeted Zhanna Sayan, who was able to accurately capture difficult passages and expressive nuances of the romance.

Organized by specialists of the popular music department under the supervision of Maysa Mamedjumaeva, a photo exhibition was a welcome addition to the tribute evening. It provided a unique window onto the life of the extraordinary woman, great singer and wonderful teacher, Medeniet Shakhberdyeva.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper