dr. Zhala ISMAIL
Abstract. The cultural relationships between Azerbaijan and Romania were intense after the Second World War. Before the war, we can state that there had been almost no cultural or political relationships. With Azerbaijan’s independence, in 1991, a new period commenced in the international relationships with Romania, marked by great perspectives and desires. The two countries, who had by now embraced an independent politics, approach other aspects of the cultural relationships and use a variety of means from the cultural diplomacy – and not only – to expand the existing relationships.
The cultural relationships in the fields of music and theater are more intense after the literary ones. Many articles were written in the ”Veac nou”, ”Munca”, ”Muzica” newspapers about the concerts performed with the great Azerbaijani conductor Niyazi, in the Athenaeum from Bucharest. The media also paid unprecedented attention to the Azerbaijani singer who visited Bucharest in 1962 and had 7 successful concerts. M. Magomaev’s visit to Bucharest, in 1971, the worldwide famous baritone, is also mentioned in the Romanian press. Romanian opera artists, such as Zenaida Pally, Elena Cernei, Nicolae Herlea, Arta Florescu were invited to Baku several times with great shows, including ”Troubadour”, ”Tosca”, ”Karmen”, ”Traviata”. Boba Massini was a director in the Theater Opera from Baku. He was specifically invited by the great Niyazi. In the last years, Romania was visited by the conductors F. Kerimov and E. Kuliyev. F. Kerimov performs concerts yearly at the Philharmonic from Târgu-Mureş, together with his wife, pianist U. Kerimova. E. Kuliyev won the first place in the contest dedicated to young conductors and after this competition he was invited again to Craiova.
The cultural relationships between the two countries in relation to the theater are not simply on the level of exchanges. We can talk about a relationship based on reciprocity among the playwrights and a vivid activity can be noticed on the part of Azerbaijan. Of course, that is also connected to the international acknowledgment of many Romanian playwrights. There are several performances based on Romanian plays in the theaters from Azerbaijan. M. Sebastian’s ”Steaua fără nume” would be staged at the State Academic Theater from Baku and the State Theater from Sheki in the ‘60s-‘70s. As a matter or fact, the State Theater from Sheki staged this play again in 2001 with the help of the Romanian Embassy in Azerbaijan. The plays ”Angajare de clovn” and ”Crezi c-or să ne bată”, by M. Vişniec were performed at the Youth State Theater from Azerbaijan and also at the first private theater from the same country, while ”Scaune” by E. Ionesco was performed at the State Theater from Irevan, while ”Fii cuminte, Cristofor!” and ”Opinia publică” by A. Baranga were performed at the State Theater from Ganja. It is worth mentioning that, for the time being, the only Azerbaijani playwright translated into Romanian is Elcin (Efendiyev). In the collection Teatru, published at Bucharest in 2003, two plays were included, translated by Dumitru Bălan.