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Top 10 Iconic Performances for Tajikistan

From “Oedipus” in 1976 to “Carmen” in 2023, this is our ranking of the coolest productions of Tajik theaters.
On November 7, 1929, the first republican theater was founded in Dushanbe, which was later named after Abulkosima Lahuti. Since 1997, Tajik Theater Day has been celebrated on this date.

We have prepared for you a brief overview of ten theatrical productions for which Tajikistan is famous.

“Oedipus the King”
In 1976, at the Drama Theater. Lakhuti hosted the premiere of Sophocles’ Oedipus, directed by Khoshim Gadoev. The composer was Tolib Shahidi.

The play by the famous Tajik director and actor, in which he also played the main role, received stunning success not only in Tajikistan, but also beyond its borders.

In 1988, Oedipus was shown on the stage of the Peoples’ Friendship Theater in Moscow. The famous theater critic and writer Andrei Minkin noted that “neither in Russia nor in Europe was the image of Oedipus played as brilliantly as Khoshim Gadoev played it.”

The performance was shown more than 100 times. For the role of Oedipus, Khoshim Gadoev received the title of State Prize laureate.

Decades later, the idea of the production remains relevant. The story is based on the condemnation of immorality, the exposure of evil to awaken mercy and responsibility for one’s actions.

“Rustam and Sukhrob”
A cult performance for Tajikistan based on the poem “Shahname” by Ferdowsi was staged several times by different theaters and directors at different times.

The play was first performed in 1941 under the direction of A. Pirmukhammadzade and V. Wolkenstein at the Theater. Lahuti. 20 years later, in 1967, in the same theater “Rustam and Sukhrob” was shown already directed by Gani Abdullo.

In 2001, composer Talabhuja Sattorov released the opera “Rustam and Sukhrob”, dedicated to the celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the Samanid State. Later, a performance based on the poem by Vasily Zhukovsky was staged by the Drama Theater named after. Mayakovsky under the leadership of Sulton Usmonov. The production received first place according to the results of the republican festival-competition of professional theaters “Parastu-2007”.

In 2009, “Rustam and Sukhrob” staged by the Youth Theater named after. Vakhidova won the Grand Prix at the theater arts festival in Iran. The prize for best actor was awarded to People’s Artist Kurbon Sobir. In the play he plays the main character – the legendary Rustam.

The role of Rustam and Sukhrob has always been played by eminent actors of the country: Gurminj Zavkibekov (Rustam), Khoshim Gadoev (Sukhrob) and Ato Muhammedzhanov (Sukhrob). The role of Takhmina was played by actress Maryam Isoeva.

“Joseph the Lost Will Return to Canaan”
Farrukh Kasymov’s performance, which won the Grand Prix at Parastu-90, became the director’s first performance staged in his own theater group – the Youth Theater “Ahorun” (translated as “City of the Gods”).

The director created the production based on his own composition based on works of classical Persian poetry, supported by biblical and Koranic motifs.

The play reimagines the legend of Joseph the Beautiful and the parable from the Koran about Yusuf. At its core is a story about brotherhood and betrayal, about the death of the Prophet, doomed to misunderstanding in his own land.

Experts note that the production of “Joseph the Lost Will Return to Canaan” is a landmark turn for the Tajik theater. The performance became a manifestation of a strong generation of directors and brought the theater closer to the spiritual traditions of the region.

In the same year, director Farrukh Kasymov received the Abuabdullo Rudaki State Prize, the highest award in the country in the field of creativity.

The premiere of Barzu Abdurazzakov’s production took place on March 17, 2009 on the stage of the Russian Drama Theater. Mayakovsky in Dushanbe.

The script for the play was prepared based on two works – “The Persecution and Murder of Jean Paul Marat” by the German playwright Peter Ulrich Weiss, and “The Year 93” by Victor Hugo, which tell about the revolutionary events of the 18th century in France.

The day after the premiere, the theatrical production was banned by the Ministry of Culture. This caused a resonance in society, after which the play appeared on stage several more times.

Unofficial version of the termination of the show “Madness. Year 93″ – a parallel between the events of the Great French Revolution of the 18th century and the civil war in Tajikistan in the 90s. Abdurazzakov himself later noted: “We do not call anyone to the barricades. Tajikistan has seen enough blood. We do not emphasize the political aspect, but emphasize the personal aspect. Either you are an individual, a citizen of your country, or you are an eternal slave. This is the main plot of the play.”

In 2014, Barza Abdurazzakov was no longer invited to the national theaters of Tajikistan. Today, the director continues to stage performances in theaters in Central Asia and beyond.

“Night away from the Motherland”
The premiere of the lyrical play took place in 2011 at the Youth Theater. Vakhidova. The director of the production, Nozim Melikov, created it based on the poems of the Tajik poet Bozor Sobir, who emigrated from Tajikistan.

The main role is played by Abdumumin Sharifi. His hero, a migrant, lives a sleepless night filled with longing for his homeland. The avant-garde nature of the production is combined with classical Tajik and Persian poetry.

The performance received wide acclaim. “Night Far from the Motherland” is the winner of the Republican competition of professional theaters “Parastu-2011”. The production is also shown outside of Tajikistan.

“A Night Far from the Motherland” by Nozim Melikov has already been seen in Kazakhstan, Russia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. The leading actor, Abdumumin Sharifi, received the award “For Best Actor” at the 8th theater festival of national theaters “Stage without Borders”.

Performance of the Drama Theater named after. Lakhuti, directed by Sulton Usmonov, received the Grand Prix of the Parastu 2019 festival. The theatrical performance is based on the novel “Firdavsi” by the Tajik writer Sotim Ulugzoda.

Later, the lead actor Qurboni Sobir received the main prize “Best Actor” at the VII International Theater Festival ART-ORDO.

“Gunchishkon ham mehandand” (“The sparrows laugh too”)
The play was staged by Kamariddin Mirzoev based on the story “Motherly Love” by the Tajik folk writer Karomatullohi Mirzo. The production premiered in 2020 on the stage of the Youth Theater named after. Vakhidova.

According to the main director of the theater, the main idea of the work is motherhood. The narration comes from the perspective of a son who is grateful to his mother for her love. However, his mother-in-law tries to turn his feelings into hatred. This is how two different motherhoods collide – the noble light and the insidious dark.

The main role in the play was played by one of the most famous actresses in Tajikistan – Mokhpaykar Yorova.

“Arshin Mal Alan”
The operetta “Arshin Mal Alan” became one of the last works of Shavkat Khalilov, People’s Artist of Tajikistan, chief director of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after. Aini.

“Arshin mal Alan” (literal translation from Azerbaijani – “Buying goods in arshins”), also known as “Seller of hand-made goods” is the most popular operetta by the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov in four acts. It was written in 1913 in St. Petersburg.

The production is distinguished by amazing melody, subtle humor and eternal themes of love and happiness.

The premiere of the operetta in Tajikistan took place in May 2021 on the stage of the Opera and Ballet Theater named after. Aini.

The performance is the first joint project of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in theatrical art in many years.

The chief artist of the Samarkand Musical Drama Theater, Bahrom Safoev, worked on the production together with Shavkat Khalilov.

“Master and Margarita”
A year ago, on November 7, 2022, for the first time in 30 years, the troupe of the Tajik State Russian Drama Theater named after. Mayakovsky showed the play “The Master and Margarita”. The premiere of the production was timed to coincide with the 85th anniversary of the theater.

The author of the play in a new interpretation, stage director Khurshed Mustafoev, noted that he did not change much the original idea of the novel, and tried to convey the meaning of each phrase to the public as Bulgakov himself intended.

During an immersive performance, the viewer is completely immersed in what is happening on stage. The action takes place in a minimal setting, accompanied by live rock music.

This year, the play “The Master and Margarita” directed by Khurshed Mustafoev received the Grand Prix of the Republican festival-competition “Parastu-2023”.

While the construction of the new theater building is underway, the Mayakovsky team is showing its productions on the stage of the theater. Lahuti.

This year, after 10 years, the Opera and Ballet Theater named after. Sadriddin Aini’s opera “Carmen” has returned. The famous work of Georges Bizet was staged on the stage of the Tajik theater by the chief director, GITIS graduate Sukhrob Usmonov.

Previously, the concept of the production was sent to Russian-language versions of the 80-90s of the 20th century. However, this time Sukhrob Usmonov decided to stage the work in the original language.

Another highlight of the production was the team that worked on creating the opera. This time it turned out to be truly international. The conductor was Italian Gerardo Cordella, the orchestra included graduates of the Kazan Conservatory, and Tajik opera stars performed on stage.

The choir was led by the Honored Artist of the Republic Elena Tilloeva, and the Honored Artist Alexander Bakhman was responsible for choreographing the dances.

Source: Asia Plus TJ