"BYULBYUL IS GREAT AND IMMORTAL IN THE REAL MEANING OF THESE WORDS, AND PEOPLE KEEPS CAREFULLY IN ITS HEART HIS INEXTINGUISHABLE FIGURE, LIKE A GRANITE MONUMENT!" (National writer of Azerbaijan, Hero of Socialist Labour, Mirza Ibragimov)
Byulbyul is a great personality with a huge range of activity, a separate epoch in the history of development of the professional musical art. He passed through a significant creative development from a people's khanende to an opera singer, teacher and a scientist of a vocal art being a phenomenon that can be hardly found in the world vocal practice. The first vocalist, who managed to pass from the specific Eastern singing to the European school of singing and, having synthesized the best means of Azeri national mugam singing with Russian and European vocal school, created in Azerbaijan a new school of singing, with later on had a wholesome influence on the development of art of singing in the countries of Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East.
The great singer was born on June 22nd, 1897 in Shusha in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh of the Republic of Azerbaijan which is considered the motherland of many great Azeri poets and musicians, the land of famous khanendes - mugam singers with a specific Eastern voice and original style of performance.
In Shusha in a natural conservatory the history of formation of a young khanende began. He was richly talented; his talent consisted in a natural, rare and beautiful voice, in the masterly imitation of a nightingale, in the singing of trills and roulades, in his ability to sustain a note (fermata) endlessly without having to take another breath. After a number of years, the youthful nickname Byulbyul (nightingale) has become an artistic pseudonym, emphasizing the oneness of his talent. Having studied the Azeri stop music, mugams, communicating with famous Shusha khanendes and musicians, he becomes popular in Caucasus and Central Asia.
In 1920 the young singer was invited in Baku to the Azerbaijan Opera Theatre to play the role of Kerem in the mugam opera of Uzeyir Hajibeyov "Asli and Kerem". Here, having heard the classical opera music for the first time being performed by a Russian opera troupe, firmly decided to grasp all the mysteries of the new musical world, which opened to him. In 1921 he was accepted to a vocal group of the teacher F.Polayev at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, and later on he continued his studies in the group of Professor N.I. Speranskiy.
Among the first Soviet singers, in 1927 the artist went to study in Italy during four years, in the famous Milan Theatre.
Those were the years accompanied by research and discoveries. Painstaking work, lessons at world-famous Italian teachers, deep studying of world vocal literature and singing methodology of different schools, meetings with prominent singers, performances in plays and concerts brought their positive results. In 1931 in an Italian magazine "Arte Nostra" in the article "Byulbyul from Azerbaijan" the world-famous maestro Raffaelle Grani noted: "Byulbyul is the first vocalist from the Muslim world who came to Italy to study and from a specific Eastern singing passed to the European singing school. The four years of study are behind. The goal is achieved. Byulbyul perfectly mastered the Italian school of singing and Italian teaching methodology".
In 1933 he took part in the All-Union vocalist competition and became a laureate. His performances in the Big Hall of the Conservatory, Columnar Hall of the Union House, House of Scientists and many other concert halls of Moscow gained a deep recognition of audience and a high appreciation of the musical community of the capital.
The immortal tutor of many generations of Russian actor, the great K.S.Stanislavsky highly appreciated the creative work of the talented singer: "When a brilliant and bright talent joins a mature mastery, what else there can be, better, more attractive and stronger. You sing like a nightingale and the singing is a life necessity for you. You cannot help singing".
Having come back from Italy to Baku, Byulbyul scientifically proved that a musical education, the development of musical intellect, the studying of Western European and Russian classical music contribute to the growth and development of national vocal performer's culture. Due to the unique and beautiful voice, brilliant techniques, the singer masterly performs the leading roles and creates bright characters in opera performances of "Rigoletto", "Traviata" and "Tosca".
Due to the talent and a performer's mastery of the singer and artist, there appeared first classical operas in Azerbaijan: "Shakh-Senem" by R.Glier, "Nargiz" by M.Magomayev. the professional skills of the artist have been fully revealed in the heroic epic opera "Keroglu" according to the plot of Azeri epic literature, which was created by Uzeyir Hacibeyov specially for the voice of the great master of Azeri opera art. In 1938 the immortal opera of Uz.Hacibeyov "Keroglu" was staged at the State Academic Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow. He managed, with a inimitable mastery and beautiful and powerful voice, perfectly sang heroic and lyrical arias of the legendary people's hero. The national artist of USSR Irma Yaunzem wrote: "The voice of Byulbyul stroke me. It is a unique and incredibly beautiful voice. He has got a coloratura mobility in the highest register. The voice is remarkable for the richness of dynamic shades. An emotional actor, warm and sincere Byulbyul has created an unforgettable character of a people's hero - Keroglu".
Under the wholesome creative influence and communication with such stars of Soviet musical art like I. Kozlovsky, S.Lemeshev, S.Prokofiev, D.Shostakovich, K.Stanislavsky, A.Nejdanova, Uz.Hajibeyov, R.Glier, M.Magomaev and many others, the professional mastery of Byulbyul (as a singer, artist and teacher) improves and he makes his way up to the rank of great performers of the world opera art. The great Russian singer Sergey Lemeshev wrote about it the following: "A huge talent, painstaking work have made you an outstanding artist who is known and loved by the whole people…". During his whole creative life Byulbyul was a performer and co-author of many song and romances of Azeri composers. His mastery had no equal in the performance of romances "Sensiz" and "Sevgili djanan" by Uz.Hacibeyov, "Olkem" by A.Zeynalli, "Arzu" by Niyazi, "Ulduz" by Fikret Amirov, folk songs "Khumar oldum", "Keklik", "Innabi", "Mehribanim" and many others.
Being a singer and artist, teacher and musicologist, associate and innovator, he was an active propagandist and initiator of everything that was new and progressive in our musical art. Byulbyul is the first Azeri professor in the field of vocal art who brought the musical and research process in Azerbaijan up to a high level. Due to the creative heritage of the singer the Azeri vocal art entered the huge world of realism, developing and improving along with the achievements of Russian and European vocal art this heritage enriched it with a new content corresponding to the spirit and time of the century.
The great singer and teacher actively imparted his knowledge, experience and skills to the preparation of young singers, took an active part in the admission of vocalists, thoroughly worked out the theory of vocal art, created manuals for them and special exercises for singing.
He was the first in Azerbaijan to organise a research cabinet on gathering and studying of folklore, involved the most experienced connoisseurs of folk arts in this work, young and talented composers and musicians for the sake of a constant summarizing and studying of classical heritage of folk songs. Many Azeri mugams were perfectly embodied in opera, ballet, symphony, chamber, instrumental and vocal works, in songs and romances of many stars of Azeri and world musical art - K.Karaev, F.Amirov, Niyazi, R.Hajiyev, S.Hajibeyov, S.Rustamov, J.Jangirov, J.Hajiyev, T.Guliyev and many others. Some significant scientific works on the research of the Azeri folklore issued from his pen, he was also an editor and compiler of first collections of folk songs and vocal compositions of both world classics and Azeri composers. His many-sided creative activity is a bright illustration of the main stages of the development of the Azeri professional performer's art. Over 50 years of the creative life the great artist did not leave the scene, on this way one could here storms of applause of pleased audience, delight of millions of people amazed with the mighty force of real mastery of the brilliant singer.
Prophetic have been the words of the Great Russian singer Ivan Semenovich Kozlovsky: "The name of Byulbyul, his knowledge, his style will exist in the life of next generations…"
Maestro Byulbyul belongs to those great artists who come to the world to create bright, burning example of national art, to deserve the eternal reward - the passionate love and memory of the people!