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Leyli and Majnun hip-hop style
The very first Azerbaijani musical, a hip-hop version of the classic love story Leyli and Majnun, has been performed in Baku.
Entitled The Legend Returns, the show was devised and performed to mark the 870th anniversary of the birth of Nizami Ganjavi, whose Leyli and Majnun epic poem is considered a literary classic.
This version sets the love story in modern times and has more dances than the Leyli and Majnun mugam opera, written by Uzeyir Hajibayli, Gun.Az reports.
The musical begins with a telephone conversation between Zeid and Zeynab (Azad Shabanov and Oksana Rasulova). The legendary love between Leyli and Majnun (popular singer Natavan Habibi and rapper Elshad Khose) is shown against the background of the mutual feelings of Zeid and Zeynab.
Mugam singer and People's Artiste Alim Gasimov played the role of Majnun's father, but his performance was a virtual one. Another virtual performance came from Agamirza, a star of traditional Azerbaijani folk rap meykhana, as Leyli’s father.
Elnur, a former Eurovision contestant, sang mugam in the role of Ibn Salam.
MC Murad played the role of Satan and also wrote the music for the show.
Rhythm master Natig Shirinov played the Sun and Alafsar Rahimov the Wind.
Scriptwriter and director Irada Gozalova said of the show: "I have directed many plays but this musical was something quite different. We have a modern attitude here. We tried to convey this magnificent work to young people through the language of modern music. It’s up to the audience to say what they think of it."
Rapper Elshan Khose said the show blends past and present.
“You will have noticed that we kept the context of the poem. There were only slight changes. We were able to show that we are both modern and attached to the past simultaneously."
Choreographer Charles Lawrence was invited from the US to work on the show. He said he loved the rehearsals and would be sorry to say goodbye to cast and crew.
Dancer Oksana Rasulova described the show as a team success. "Everyone deserved praise," she said.
The musical was peformed on Saturday at the Heydar Aliyev Palace with the joint support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Ireli Public Union and Bakcell.
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