Legend of the House of Artists
The house on Khagani Street, in which his childhood passed, was popularly called the "House of Artists". The Magomayev's stairwell neighbor was the famous Bulbul, and Muslim often listened the artist to sing in the mornings. Young Muslim was friends with his son Polad. Together they built a spyglass to watch the spots on the moon, together they designed a school wall newspaper – already then Magomayev felt interest to drawing, and jumped from tree to tree, screamng like Tarzan... Young Muslim was an inquisitive boy, always crafting, taking apart and putting back something – his beloved grandmother Baydigul sometimes was careful with touching iron surfaces: what if Musik plugged something wrong and it will electrocute again! He passionately loved his city and the Caspian Sea. He loved rocks. Later, Tamara Sinyavskaya tried singing on the rocks, as he sang "Blue Eternity", and admitted that the voice seemed to be "sailing into the distance" and there was a sense of immensity... By the way, the melody of "Blue Eternity" arose in his head when he was sitting in a restaurant with friends. He wrote it down on a starchy napkin, almost following the covenant of Mayakovsky, who wrote a metaphor for "a soldier saving his only leg" on a match box. And the lyrics for it was inspired by the plot of "Crimson Sails" by Alexander Grin. Magomaev was playing, and his friend, the poet Gennady Kozlovsky wrote and crossed out until nothing remained from Assol from the original version.
The star couple – Magomayev and Sinyavskaya – often stayed in a cottage in Zagulba, where Muslim Magomayev, waking up early, went to the balcony to draw. Always delicate, impeccably well-mannered person, as Muslim Magomayev was characterized by everyone who knew him closely, showed his southern temperament when they criticized his painting – here emotions, according to his wife, were cracking at the level of the end of the world! He traditionally celebrated his birthday on August 17 in Baku, on the seaside, among friends and relatives, and only a month later in Moscow. The artist did not like to sit at the table alone, after concerts he always gathered friends and was upset when the guests were leaving. For the last eight years of his life, health did not allow him to fly to his beloved city, and he was deeply affected by this separation. Like Yesenin, who lived a little over six months after his poetic farewell to Baku, Muslim Magomayev said goodbye to the city of his childhood with the song: "Goodbye, Baku" – this was the last song he wrote and performed...
Orpheus of the Soviet Union
When Tamara Ilyinichna Sinyavskaya, opera singer with a unique mezzo-soprano, saw the Philharmonic Hall named after Muslim Magomayev, her first thought was: "So young and has already received such honor!" Only later did she find out that Muslim was named after his famous grandfather. Music was his destiny. He often played conductor as a child, waving a stick. But at the age of 14, his voice gained amazing power and strength, and Muslim realized that he will sing. He never regretted this decision. The son of a theater artist and actress, he was brought up by uncle and did not very willingly cope with general school subjects, since all his thoughts were occupied by music. He had a rarely beautiful baritone – bright, sonorous. But, performing his favorite Neapolitan songs, he presented as a brilliant tenor, surprising the Italians themselves with insistence of performance and truly Italian passion. Subsequently, building the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Araz Agalarov recalled the voice of his friend Magomayev - and could not find such acoustics specialists who could keep a sound worthy of this voice in the hall. Therefore, Agalarov was doing the acoustics himself.
Having sharpened his singing techniques at the famous La Scala Theater, Muslim Magomayev forever remained an admirer and follower of the Italian school: Beniamino Gigli, Gino Bechi, Tito Gobbi, Mario Del Monaco... Before coming to Italy, he studied singing with records, learning the performing manner of the coryphaeus of the Italian scene – Milan teachers immediately caught familiar intonations, style and pressure. And returning from the homeland of bel canto, he recorded with the State Chamber Orchestra of Azerbaijan a series of works by European composers of the 16th-18th centuries. This required a special vocal technique, which he mastered perfectly. He did not want to give more than two or three concerts a month so that the "soul would take a breath": after all, every time he went on stage, he was new, real, he put a piece of his soul into each song. His crazy energy swept the hall, women went crazy on him and everyone, without exception, immediately fell under the spell of his charm. It was not always possible to sing. In addition, he sang from the balconies for those who could not afford to come to his concerts, and even at his own wedding he gave an impromptu concert out of the open window, because he could not refuse on such a day to fans gathered at the Moscow restaurant "Baku". Unfortunately, Muslim Magomayev could not boast of strong lungs. The November weather did its job – after the wedding he was sick and remained silent for a long time.
"This guy does not take care of himself at all", they said about him. Yes, he was not stopped by illness or smoking – and he smoked three packs a day - not even a complication after measles suffered in childhood: hearing only with one ear, he heard much more than others.
And he finally fell silent only when his voice began to change, although no one had noticed this yet. He left the stage quietly, without loud statements and farewell concerts: he decided that his time had passed, and wanted his voice to be remembered strong and young. He protected his personal borders, and journalists could not break through to him for a long time. But even after his career he had no time to spare. He designed his apartment to look like The Bolshoi Theatre.He could not allow even a thought that he wasn’t able to do something. But he refused the roles of Ostap Bender and Vronsky in the film, not wanting to look like an amateur. Just once he appeared on the movie screen – he played Nizami Ganjavi in the film of Eldar Guliyev, but spoke about his role with slight irony: he did not need to do anything important – just walk around, stand and say all sorts of wisdom...
You are my melody...
Hearing him for the first time, without even seeing his face, she thought: "I would follow this voice to the end of the world". The most eligible bachelor of the USSR met Tamara Sinyavskaya three times. For some time they walked by each other, but fate itself, as if on purpose, constantly brought them together. Even after going on an internship at La Scala, Tamara, without knowing, checked in the same room in which her future husband lived ten years earlier. Then their affair began on the phone. On the phone, he let her listen to the just recorded song "You are my melody". Araz Agalarov, who worked at the Baku telephone exchange, literally stood above the heads of the telephone operators so that they would not overhear a personal conversation. After her return, Magomayev and her were no longer apart. And even later, his friend Tair Salakhov, seeing their indecision, simply took their passports and brought them to the registry office. They had a lot in common. He believed that a man should be in charge of everything, but without suppressing a woman. She, naturally endowed with female flexibility, accepted his rules. She was "behind her husband", understood him half-word, picked up intonations. By own confession of Muslim Magometovich, he could not marry any other. Wise, tactful Tamara Ilyinichna tried to be the perfect wife of a great man.
Today she teaches at GITIS and heads the Muslim Magomayev Foundation. The world around her sounds like a legato of memories of him. As if he is always there and still directs her... In March 2020, the TV series "Magomayev" was released on the First television channel with the assistance of Emin and Araz Agalarovs. The script was written for four years, and Milos Bikovic was chosen for the main role by Tamara Ilyinichna herself - for calm movements and soft intonations resembling Muslim...
Passion for Magomayev
In 1969, Muslim Magomayev was awarded a golden disc at the MIDEM festival in Cannes for the fantastic number of records sold – about 4.5 millions! The concert in which the Beatles, Celentano and other famous performers participated, ended with the song "Blue Eternity". His success was phenomenal. One and a half hour long concerts raced in one breath, as if in five minutes. He had to fly to his concerts by helicopter, drive a car directly into the Sports Palace, leave through secret exits and even jump with Maestro Niyazi, his uncle, from the second floor. Fans literally tore his clothes on him. In 1964, at the Moldova Days of Culture, after a concert at the Green Theater, the audience lifted up the car with him. No mass hysteria around the "stars" of modern pop can be compared with Magomayev's furious success. The song "Azerbaijan" to the verses of Nabi Khazri in his performance is still perceived by us almost as much as the national anthem. According to the memoirs of Robert Rozhdestvensky, to whose poems he sang, and wrote many songs himself, not a single entertainer managed to finish the last name "Magomayev" – his voice sank in wild ovation. He seemed to be the embodiment of the ancient Greek Orpheus – not only musical, but also spiritual, carrying people a revival. No wonder his surname begins with the mysterious "mag": his energy and inexplicable magnetism were transmitted even through recording on film.
Muslim Magomayev is a man of rare breed: stately, charming, intelligent, with a sense of dignity. No one saw him rushing or fussing, he never asked anyone for anything. And he did not praise the leaders, although he was loved by both the people and the powerful of this world. He obtained his own apartment only at 41, although he asked for others more than once. Heydar Aliyev, who loved him fatherly, even made Magomayev a deputy so that he could legally help others. However, he was far from politics and practically did not go to meetings. "Living legend", as Heydar Aliyev called him, received the title of People's Artist of the USSR at 31, and it was incredible! Although he could have gotten it four years earlier, if not for the conspiring of minor officials. Success was pleasant to him, but did not turn his head. He was a do-gooder, easily changed the money for the pleasure of making someone happy – be it a gift or help in a difficult moment. Inviting friends to the restaurant, he paid for everyone and did not want to hear even a word about money. For voicing three roles in the animated film "In the Steps of the Bremen Town Musicians" – Troubadour, Detective with his "sandy" voice and Chieftain – he did not take his fee, citing personal pleasure from such work. And he received his famous ring as a gift from Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, rejecting a monetary fee for the performance. Having been known as a tastemaker in his youth, he had not worn rings before, and never took off the Shah's gift. A demanding, even merciless to himself, modest and decent person, Muslim Magomayev took parodies on himself with humor. In 1986, he invited the young Vladimir Vinokur on his American tour and announced his release. He lived on the principle "Don't wait, don't be afraid, don't ask". He did not love people being too smart, and was not deceived by the public praises. Later in life he said: "Now I know more about my work than the smartest and most penetrating analyst. And my opinion on myself is ruthless". He considered the last years of his life as a payback for always being a fortunate person.
We talked to Tamara Ilyinichna Sinyavskaya by phone a couple of weeks before August 17 – due to the pandemic, she will not be able to come to Baku in August as usual.
Tamara Ilyinichna, Araz Agalarov said that Muslim Magometovich refused to go to the hospital. He said that he lived such a beautiful life that it could not be long, and asked not to prolong his biological existence. He lived by his own rules...
And do you doubt that? He "was born free and gone free". He said everything he wanted to say. And I'm guarding all this.
You're not going to write a book about him?
He wrote everything he wanted. I have never done anything on his behalf and will not do now. Maybe only my point of view, but I need more time... Although 12 years have passed, but still feels like it all was yesterday... He said things that no one could say. Not a single artist in my memory could say this. And he could afford it.
He said his time had passed. To whom did he pass the torch? Or maybe there are no more left?..
This is the trouble of our time. I suffer a little because of that, too. I would really like to admire, be amazed...
Are there such levels in art now? I won't say – stars... A star is not our word.
"Star of the Bolshoi Theater Feodor Chaliapin" – admit it, this sounds insulting, because all the other stars are a regiment of soldiers. I will not take the liberty of judging those whom I practically did not hear. Of course, there are those who praise their homeland, and I enjoy it – both aesthetically and humanly, but we do not see and hear them very often. What we have on our screens is not it.
Was he easy to offend? How sensitive was he?
Sensitive does not mean touchy. And he was sensitive, like all artists. We feel the grudge in the tone: for example, if you take the wrong intonation at the moment, we will hear it. But he was very well mannered, understood who was privileged, and who wasn't... Why resent a person who has not been given something important? Besides, he was just smart. A smart person will never be offended by a not gifted, but very ambitious person.
So "gifted" and "with great ambitions" are antonyms?
Practically antonyms. Not always, but it happens. It happens that a person makes the impression of being open, intelligent, but as soon as he opens his mouth – where does it all go? And sometimes it happens that nothing attracts in person – but when he opens his mouth, you just can't stay away. I think that this applies to ballet as well, only they express with their body.
How often do you visit Baku?
Now coronavirus is an issue... But usually I tried not to miss a single August here. And on October 25 I tried to be in Baku. And between these dates I made time to pay homage...
Do you have any favorite places in Baku?
Favorite places? Mostly Zagulba, because we were there almost every summer. And the seaside, which also means a lot to me, because when Muslim and I came to Baku in our young years, we stayed at the Hotel "Azerbaijan". We watched the seaside from the highest floor, we were very thrilled by it. We walked a lot around Icheri sheher...
We say: great artist, man of great service... What does it mean? After all, vocal qualities alone are not enough to be great.
He happily combined all this. He's just a man kissed by God, a messenger. The model that attracts attention in all respects. An example to which people would like to look up to.
Why was he sent to us?
To serve as an example. Why was Tchaikovsky sent? Mozart? Rachmaninov? I do not put them in the same row, but still. So that people know and keep the memory of them. – N