This date provides an opportunity to talk about this wonderful opera director, who largely won the love and recognition of fans thanks to his empirical approach to the art of opera.
Safarov has produced over sixty performances from the treasury of world musical culture and composers of Uzbekistan, many of which have become theatrical classics. And in each of them he told his own stories, while treating both the original source and the libretto with care. To this should be added the staging of various festive concerts, including the “Days of Literature and Art of Uzbekistan,” which were held with great success in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan.
Being a People's Artist of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, Professor Firudin Safarov, awarded for his services in social and musical activities with the Buyuk Khizmatlari Uchun Order in Uzbekistan and the Taraggi (Progress) medal in Azerbaijan, did a lot with his many years of work for the friendship of these two peoples, uniting their cultures.
Suffice it to recall such brilliant productions as “Faust”, “Othello”, “Samson and Delilah”, “Peter the Great”, “Fiery Angel” and many others. Known for his innovative approach to each performance, Safarov gave them new relevance, new penetration, turning them into a discovery. And his lively, strikingly fresh creations always turned out bright, spectacular and incredibly dynamic. They became revelations that radiated powerful energy. Therefore, it is not surprising that all of them were destined for a long stage life, because not one of his readings left the viewer indifferent, remaining with him for a long time.
He devoted forty-six years to the State Academic Bolshoi Theater named after Alisher Navoi, raising several generations of singers capable of realizing complex directorial tasks. Firudin Sattarovich also taught at the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan: subsequently many of his students became soloists of the Tashkent Bolshoi Theater. Among them are those who today successfully work in famous opera houses in Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia and other countries.
And his creative biography began in Baku, where he was born on August 1, 1933. Since childhood, he loved to study, playing music and sports. He played excellent football, table tennis, checkers and chess. And when he entered the Azerbaijan State Conservatory named after U. Hajibeyov in the class of percussion instruments, he mastered the drums, timpani, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, continuing to successfully play football as part of the Azerbaijan National Team, managing to perform in the evenings with an instrumental ensemble on the stage of the city dance floor.
He has behind him both the prestigious All-Union Variety Competition, where he took first place as the best xylophonist, and the theater department of the Azerbaijan State Theater Institute. The energetic Safarov successfully combined his studies at this university with work in the symphony orchestra of the Baku Conservatory.
And that is not all. Next was the faculty of opera directing at the Leningrad State Conservatory named after N. Rimsky-Korsakov, where he studied with outstanding masters: People's Artist of Russia, State Prize laureate, chief director of a number of the largest theaters in Russia E. Sokovnin, patriarch of classical musical comedy, film director J. Fried, theater historian with encyclopedic knowledge Isaac Glickman, famous musicologist, professor Anatoly Dmitriev.
Firudin Safarov returned to his homeland as a certified specialist. Working as the chief director of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after Akhundov, he staged on its stage such performances as “Ker-ogly” and “Leyli and Majnun” by U. Hajibeyov, “The Queen of Spades” by P. Tchaikovsky, “Optimistic Tragedy” by A. Kholminova, “Van Gogh” by N. Kodalla. Even then, he willingly experimented, ahead of his time, was principled and strict both in his interpretations of the classics and in working with artists, while showing character and professionalism.
Soon people started talking about him as a talented and original director. Therefore, it is not surprising that in 1977 he received an invitation from the management of the Tashkent Bolshoi Theater to stage the opera “The Queen of Spades”, and after its successful premiere, he received an offer to take the position of chief director of the Bolshoi Theater named after A. Navoi.
Thus, a period began in Safarov’s life, which his circle calls a period of true flourishing and creative happiness. Here, in the person of the main conductor of the theatre, People's Artist of the USSR Dilbar Abdurakhmanova, he found a like-minded person, in tandem with whom he staged many masterpieces one after another, which pleasantly surprised with their interesting concept, freshness of reading, scrupulous work with the singers, thanks to which the director achieved virtuoso acting from them.
He staged all his operas as if he were making a film. Subtle psychologism was present in almost every scene, be it “Peter the Great” by A. Petrov, “The Fiery Angel” by S. Prokofiev, “Troubadour”, “La Traviata” by D. Verdi, “Carmen” by G. Bizet, “Elisir of Love” by G. Donizetti "or, "The Tricks of Maysara" by S. Yudakov and many others, with which he experimented a lot. These productions breathed fresh breath into the Tashkent Opera House.
He had passion and an endless desire to work. And there was also great joy - the theater, which became his destiny and life, like opera. His talent and energy were enough for everything. It was here that his staging and teaching experience, knowledge of theatrical specifics, were revealed, and his incredible efficiency and responsible attitude to business found the best application and great benefit.
For four decades, Firudin Sattarovich and Dilbar Gulyamovna carried out enormous and labor-intensive work on the theater’s repertoire and on educating the younger generation of singers. And in March 2018, this brilliant first female conductor in the East passed away. He took her departure hard. He was attracted to her by her bright temperament, professionalism, passion and complete dedication of the conductor, which infects singers and musicians. She appreciated his skill, honesty, love for his profession and music, as well as his desire to raise the Uzbek national cadres to a high level of performance of world classics and is grateful for the birth of opera in her, because before meeting him she was an ace in ballet conducting.
They both were fanatically devoted to their work all their lives, being the indisputable authority, conscience and tuning fork of the Uzbek Opera and Ballet Theater.
By the way, Firudin Sattarovich, like Dilbar Gulyamovna, repeatedly received flattering offers from other theater groups of the former Union, but he, like her, remained faithful to the Tashkent Bolshoi, where he created his own theater - the Safarov Theater. He never led an idle life, being in constant search. His last collaboration with Dilbar Abdurakhmanova is “Aida” by D. Verdi, which is still successfully performed in the theater today. Without her, he staged Iolanta by P. Tchaikovsky.
And then came the global collapse - the coronavirus pandemic, which brought down the usual way of life of millions of people for almost three years. Firudin Sattarovich also fell ill with Covid. He was urgently hospitalized. And, despite his advanced age, he overcame the disease. Because he was and remains a strong person. And after leaving the hospital, he began rehearsing “The Barber of Seville” by D. Rossini.
Trying to determine the essence of Firudin Safarov’s art and its significance for the opera theater of both Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, I will note that he is without a doubt an example of a combination of the most diverse aspects and qualities of directorial professionalism. This should also include temperament, great human and artistic culture, the breadth of theatrical and general artistic horizons, as well as interest in everything that surrounds him. Safarov is a unique phenomenon in our culture.
He is a wonderful teacher, author of librettos and works on the art of opera. His creative activity enriches the emotional world of viewers with such knowledge that cannot be gleaned from any other sources, it makes them much more mature, insightful, and profound. It is the destiny of happy artists to be desired and dear companions in the lives of their viewers.
And Firudin Safarov is one of these creators who, with a bright flash, illuminated, directed and determined the movement of the Tashkent Bolshoi Theater for many years to its present day!
Inessa Gulzarova, musicologist, Honored Worker of Culture of Uzbekistan, professor of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan.
28 октября 2023