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SA 06/07/2024 Hours 21:15 Tickets no longer available
Parchi di Nervi – Villa Grimaldi Fassio

60 minutes without intermission




Azerbaijan State Ballet Theater

First Italian date with the ballet ‘A Legend of Love’, inspired by a timeless story from Azerbaijani tradition

A Legend of Love
Ballet in three scenes
Music by Arif Melikov

Characters and interpreters:

Mehmene Banu, the queen
Ayan Eyvazova

Farhad, court painter
Ilya Manaenkov

Shirin, sister of the queen
Dinara Mamedova

Makar Fershtandt

The Jester
Odushev Timur

Court dancers
Jamilya Muradova, Lia Fershtandt

Shirin’s friends
Yulia Fershtandt, Dilara Kovalchuk, Fatima Khalafova

Edvard Arazov, Seymur Gadiyev, Mansur Mamedov, Emil Azizov, Kamran Gurbanov, Nurlan Rasulov

Choreography by Yuri Grigorovich
Scenes by Simon Virsaladze

Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater
Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble

The dance company of the Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of the State of Azerbaijan will bring A Legend of Love, a ballet composed by Azerbaijan People’s Artist Arif Melikov, to the Nervi Parks. First presented in 1961, the ballet was a great success and became part of the tradition. The plot, a timeless story of love and sacrifice, is based on a libretto by the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. The performance is presented by choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, with sets by Simon Virsaladze, and is performed by the corps de ballet of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre and the dancers of the Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble. Expressive dance movements and evocative music accompany the audience on an emotionally charged journey. A Legend of Love is appreciated for its dramatic choreography, striking images and strongly expressive narrative.

Queen Mehmene Banu and Princess Shirin are sisters. To save Shirin from death, Mehmene Banu must accept the conditions of a mysterious stranger and sacrifice her beauty. The princess returns to life, but deep sorrow still reigns in the palace.
Mehmene Banu is madly in love with the young painter Farhad, but realises with despair that without his beauty she cannot be reciprocated. At the palace, the painter suddenly encounters Mehmene Banu and Shirin, who parade surrounded by courtiers and guards. The sisters meet Farhad’s eyes and their hearts fill with love for the young man. The procession starts again, Farhad is fascinated by the beauty of the princess.
Shirin dreams of happiness with her beloved and, when Farhad sneaks into her rooms, the two lovers decide to flee the palace together. Tortured by jealousy, Mehmene Banu orders their capture. The chase overwhelms the fugitives, who plead in vain for freedom. The queen places an impossible condition on Farhad: he will get Shirin if he succeeds in bringing down the iron mountain that prevents the supply of water to the people. The painter is ready to perform this feat in the name of love.

The Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre has been a leading cultural institution in the Republic of Azerbaijan for over a century. During its operation, the theatre’s stage has hosted some of Azerbaijan’s most important cultural and artistic figures, along with numerous world-famous artists such as Fyodor Shalyapin, Irina Arkhipova, Maya Plisetskaya, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras and many others. The history of national ballet in Azerbaijan began in 1940, with the ballet Maiden Tower, written by the important composer and People’s Artist Afrasiyab Badalbeyli. In over 80 years, Azerbaijani ballet has achieved significant success and developed extensively. The names of important representatives of the national ballet, such as Gamar Almaszade, Leyla Vekilova, Rafiqe Akhundova, Maqsud Mammadov, Vladimir Pletnev, Tamilla Shiraliyeva and Chimnaz Babayeva, have entered the history of Azerbaijani culture forever. Masterpieces such as The Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Scheh, Scheherazade, Romeo and Juliet, Carmen Suite, Paquita, Bolero, La Arlesienne, Chopiniana, Le Corsaire and many others, as well as numerous examples of Azerbaijani national ballet such as Maiden Tower, The seven beauties, Leyli and Majnun, Don Quixote, One Thousand and One Nights, Journey to the Caucasus, Qoyya, Shadows of Gobustan, enrich the theatre’s repertoire. The corps de ballet of the Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theatre also presents a new generation of talented artists, People’s Artist Gulagasi Mirzeyev, Artists of Honour Yuri Lobachev, Makar Fershtandt, Nigar Ibrahimova, Jamila Karimova, Anar Mikayilov, Elmira Suleymanova, and leading soloists Ayan Eyvazova, Seymour Gadiyev, Timur Odushev, and Yuliya Ferstandt have earned the admiration of the audience. Between 2000 and 2013, the corps de ballet of the Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theatre participated in several international tours. Currently, the corps de ballet is led by Ruslan Pronin, Honorary Artist of the