On February 24, "The Dead" by Jalil Mammadguluzade was performed at the Heydar Aliyev Center as part of the "Heydar Aliyev and National Theater Art" project dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the national leader Heydar Aliyev. The play was presented by the Azerbaijan State Academic National Drama Theater with the joint organization of the Heydar Aliyev Center and the Ministry of Culture.
The Heydar Aliyev Center has initiated several initiatives and events in light of the declaration of 2023 as the "Year of Heydar Aliyev" in Azerbaijan, as ordered by President Ilham Aliyev. As part of these initiatives, the Center will present a series of theater performances, which the national leader enjoyed and took great interest in. As the national leader's favorite work is the "The Dead" by Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, the Heydar Aliyev Center kicked off the "Heydar Aliyev and National Theater Art" initiative with its performance.
Before the performance, a video featuring the national leader's thoughts on the play was presented. The national leader praised "The Dead" as a profoundly intellectual work, stressed its national spirit, and described it as a unique historical masterpiece. Heydar Aliyev was very attached to the theater from an early age. Heydar Aliyev, who performed on stage in drama clubs during his school and student years, cherished theater, and referred to the Azerbaijani national theater as our national treasure.
This time "The Dead" was staged at the Auditorium of the Heydar Aliyev Center, one of the top venues in the world with excellent acoustics. Vibrant decorations were set up for the performance in line with the stage of this auditorium. The costumes of the actors were custom-made for this performance. The performance also featured a new version of the music composed by Gara Garayev for "The Dead."
A total of 27 actors participated in the performance. The production and artistic director was People's Artist Azer Pasha Nematov. People's artist Nuraddin Mehdikhanli portraying Sheikh Nasrullah and Honored artist Anar Heybatov playing the role of Kefli Iskandar appeared on the stage of the Heydar Aliyev Center as the main actors of the performance for the 87th time.
This production included a cast of well-known performers spanning three generations: Sajjat Kazimov, 12, who plays the character of Jalal, is the youngest actor, while Rafig Azimov, 85, the People's Artist who celebrated his anniversary on stage, is the oldest. Other notable actors included People's artists Ali Nur, Haji Ismayilov, Kazim Abdullayev, Lalazar Mustafayeva, Sabir Mammadov, honored artists Aslan Shirin, Elkhan Guliyev, Elshan Rustamov, Alfida Jafarov, Kazim Hasanguliyev, Matlab Abdullayev, Mazahir Jalilov, Mirza Aghabayli, and others.
The tragicomedy composed of four acts and five settings, written in 1909, was staged for the first time on April 29, 1916, at the Taghiyev Theater in Baku. The first director of the performance was the outstanding Huseyngulu Sarabski. The roles of Sheikh Nasrullah and Iskander were played by Aligulu Gamkusar and Mirzaaga Aliyev, respectively. The play was staged the second time on August 17, 1916, at a girls' school established by Khurshidbanu Natavan in Shusha.
The first tragicomedy in our national dramaturgy, “The Dead”, was staged both in Azerbaijan and abroad and enjoyed remarkable success in the past.
The performance of the play at the Heydar Aliyev Center was also successful. At the end of the performance, all members of the creative team who contributed to the production of the play were awarded letters of appreciation and gifts by the Heydar Aliyev Center.