Music. Musical activity on the territory of the present-day Azerbaijan is first reflected in cave-paintings of ceremonial dance scenes, found in Gobustan, and dating from the 8th-10th centuries B.C. The heroic epic, "Kitabi Dede-Gorgud", gives us valuable indications concerning certain aspects of music and its role in early medieval Azeri society. The renowned medieval scholars, Safiaddin Urmavi and Abdulgadir Maragi, went on to explore the theoretical foundations of Azeri music. Azeri music itself developed in two directions up to the beginning of the 20th century. On the one hand, there was the music of the professional musicians, who transmitted the mugam and ashug oral traditions. On the other, there was folk music, embodying a wide range of genres. A new era in the musical life of our country was ushered in by the brilliant composer and teacher, Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948), who laid the foundations of modern, professional Azeri music, essentially based on a fusion of the world and national musical traditions.|
The 1920s and 1930s saw musical life in the country take off. The Conservatoire was founded in 1921, and many other colleges of music and music schools (including the ten-year school which opened at the Conservatoire in 1938) were established. The Opera and Ballet Theatre was founded in 1920, bringing together a number of existing troupes. At Uzeyir Hadjibeyov's initiative the following collectives were founded: a symphony orchestra in 1920, the national orchestra in 1931, the state choir in 1936. The Union of Composers of Azerbaijan was founded in 1934. The national vocal tradition was founded by the outstanding singer, Byul-Byul, who successfully married the best of the national style with Italian "belle canto" and European professionalism and technique. The national symphonic movement started in the 1940s with outstanding Azerbaijan composer Gara Garayev, whose music also fuses foreign styles and native traditions, as do many of the works of his pupils and successors. Around the same time, the other brightest Azerbaijan composer Fikret Amirov invented a new genre - the symphonic mugam - which made him famous.
A qualitatively new stage came in the 1960s, when Khruschev's "thaw" gave Azeri composers a measure of freedom and released their creative potential. The result was a number of innovative works, which took the latest compositional techniques and adapted them to fit the national lexicon. In 1969, for the first time the piano player Farhad Badalbayli was conferred the rank of laureate in the international competition, being at present the head of the Baku Music Academy. Susequently, this list was filled up with the famous names such as Vasif gasanov, Elvina Zeynalova, rauf Gasimov, Valid Rasulov, Arzu Aleskherova, Murad Adigozalzadeh, Murad Guseynov and others. The Azerbaijan vocal school was highly represented by Fidan Gasimova, Khuraman Gasimova, as well as by Ali askherov, garina Kheromova, Gasn Enami, Farida Mammadova, Dinara Aliyeva, Avez abdullayev, Makhira Guliyeva and others in the international area.
Quality and openness to the outside world have always been the hallmarks of Azeri culture, and Baku's long-standing cosmopolitan tradition, and the country's geographical situation, have both been major contributory factors. From the 1960s through the 1980s, these features were enhanced and illustrated by numerous concerts, festivals and competitions. There are countless types and styles of music, and different traditions - classical, jazz, the oral tradition and the avant-garde - can coexist happily. The festival movement peaked in the second half of the 1980s, when the various genres all got large-scale events - the Gara Garayev Festivals of 20th-Century Music (1986, 1988, 1990), the Khari Byulbyul International Folk Music Festival, and the Vagif Mustafazadeh Jazz Forums. The 12th Glinka competition for singers from all parts of the Soviet Union (1987) and the "Towards the Zenith" new music festival (1989) were both held in Baku. Independence (regained in 1991) helped Azeri music to make further progress towards finding its place on the world musical scene, and professional musicianship in Azerbaijan now operates in a more open international context. The old go-betweens and filters have gone: Azeri composers are now in direct, creative contact with foreign performers and music publishers, and young Azeri musicians go abroad to study and take part in international festivals and competitions. Azerbaijan was one of the first CIS countries to join two prestigious international organisations - the ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) and the ACL (Asian Composers League). Music by such composers as Arif Melikov, Khayyam Mirzazadeh, Frangiz Ali-zadeh, Ismail Hadjibeyov, Djavanshir Guliyev have been performed on festivals of this organizations. Composer Farhang Huseynov is the owner of international competitions' awards, held in Japan, USA and Paraguay. The composers, Frangiz Ali-zadeh, Rahila Hasanova and Elnara Dadasheva are active members of the International Alliance for Women in Music.
Azeri composers have been involved in a number of large-scale international projects, including the Silk Road Festival (Djavanshir Guliyev, Frangiz Ali-zadeh), and also the New Spiritual Music Festival and the Tokkelfestival (Rahila Hasanova, Faradj Garayev, Frangiz Ali-zadeh), launched respectively by the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Nieuw Ensemble in Holland. Frangiz Ali-zadeh, who was appointed composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival and awarded a grant by the prestigious Berlin Academy of Arts, enjoys a very high international reputation. Azeri composers have worked successfully with various well-known groups of performers - "Continuum", "Cronos", "The Hilliard Ensemble", "Ta G", etc. It's also worth to emphasize the fact that for the recent years many Azerbaijan musicians had received the invitations have been working by contract in musical collectives and educational institutions of Turkey. Such famous musicians such as composers Ramiz Melikaslanov, Elshad Bagirov, Elnara Kerimova, violinist Sarvar Ganiyev, pianist Zokhrab Adigozalzadeh, etc. Regular performances in Baku by outstanding performers, such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Bella Davidovich, and Dmitry Sitkovetski, have helped to revive concert-going in recent years, and master classes given at Baku Music Academy by distinguished foreign musicians have had an inspiring effect on young performers. Significant events in the last ten years have included the Byulbyul international competitions for singers (1997, 2000, 2005, and 2007), the Silk Road Festival of classical music (1999), and the "New Music from the Old Century" Festival (2001), annually held jazz festival which attracted musicians from Norway, Germany, Denmark and Great Britain. Foreign embassies and consulates frequently sponsor concerts by musicians from their countries in Baku. A significant part of the country's concert life is still concentrated in the capital, which has numerous concert halls, e.g. the Palace named after Heydar Aliyev, the Chamber and Organ Music Hall, the Baku Music Academy Hall, the Shakhriyar Palace and the Rashid Beybutov Vocal Music Centre. For the recent decade the Theatre of Music Comedy has been rebuilt. The Philharmonia - has been opened after fundamentally repaire in 2004. The State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibeyov still has interesting programs. The State Symphonic Orchestra, the Gara Garayev State Chamber Orchestra and the State Choral Society have been performing with interesting programs on a regular base. The modern music ensemble, "SoNoR", is becoming increasingly active and makes a strong impression at international festivals, such as "Young. Euro. Classic" (Berlin, 2001). The Opera and Ballet Theatre has recently attracted huge interest with a number of new works - the one-act ballets, "Don Quixote" and "Leyli and Mejnun", with music by Gara Garayev, "Black and White" with music by Khayyam Mirza-zadeh, and Tofig Bakikhanov's "Caspian Ballad". The State Theatre has fruitful creative contacts with leading theatres in other CIS countries, including the world-famous Bolshoi and leading theaters from CIS. By inviting outstanding singers, dancers and directors to Baku, it maintains a high level of performance and keeps its audience interested. So, for the recent years such international stars as Elena Obraztsova, Irina Arkhipova, Maya Plisetskaya, Nadejda Pavlova, Vacheslav Gordeev, Anastasia Volochkova, Svetlana Zakharova and etc have toured to Baku. The famous Russian dance ensemble, led by Igor Moiseyev, has visited Baku for several times. New performances, performed in original language of "Karmen", "Traviata", "Payatsy", have been included in the theater's repertoire alike Azerbaijan opera classic - ‘Leyli and Medjnun" by Uzeyir Hadjibeyov and "Sevil" by Fikret Amirov. The successes scored abroad by the national ballet company (it gave an acclaimed performances of two one-act ballets, with music by Gara Garayev, at the Bolshoi in Moscow in December 2001) and the high opinion of foreign experts and audience are sure signs that good creative work is being done.
Azerbaijan is famous by its wonderful jazz traditions. Beginning from the thirties of the 20th century, jazz has been actively involving into the musical life of Azerbaijan, becoming an integral part of national culture. Fame of Azerbaijan jazz is linked with the name of Vagif Mustafazadeh, which could combine Mugam intonation with jazz improvisation. The name of his daughter, jazz pianist and vocalist Aziza Mustafazadeh, who has been touring successfully all over the world, is well-known. Jazz in Azerbaijan covers a broad range of styles (traditional, post-pop, fusion, free flexion). The main challenge for musicians today is finding ways of connecting the traditional and modern, while preserving the distinctive character of Azeri jazz.
Obviously, the market economy calls the tune. In the last ten years, pop-music has had by far the largest audience, and western-style show business has started to develop. At the same time, other directions are also being explored. Attempts are being made to synthesize pop and folk music, traditional songs are getting new arrangements, and rap techniques are being widely copied. Although there are several rock groups, this style has not really caught on. The new artistic openness has exposed Azeri song to various influences, not all of them positive, threatening to detach it from its own distinctive traditions - the traditions embodied in the work of Seid Rustamov, Djakhagir Djakhangirov, Tofig Guliyev, Rauf Hajiyev, Emin Sabitogli and Polad Byulbyuloglu. There are signs of a boom in popular entertainment, but there are also some disturbing tendencies, and low production standards, coupled with increasing reliance on non-professional performers, may well compromise its development.
Visual arts. The visual arts have a very old tradition in Azerbaijan, stretching back through countless generations. Mesolithic and Neolithic cave-paintings in Gobustan and on the Absheron peninsula are among the earliest examples. There are also richly decorated implements and household objects, superb carpets, exquisite jeweler and a host of other artifacts. Architecture should be mentioned too - mosques, mausoleums, palaces and ornamental tiles, all with a distinctive refinement and grace. Miniature painting, as exemplified in the work of great masters like Sultan Muhammad and Mirza Ali, is Azerbaijan's unique contribution to world art. All of this constituted our people's artistic "gene pool" and gave them a remarkably rich heritage, which started to absorb new influences in the mid-19th century. At that time, the effects of forced contact between the Russian and Azeri artistic and cultural traditions started to make themselves felt, gradually bringing a new, realistic strain into Azeri art. Its main representatives were masters like Mirza Kadym Erivani, Mir Movsum Navvab, Natavan (poet and artist) and many others.
The visual arts underwent further changes in the early 20th century, when new forms and styles began to appear - satirical graphics and easel painting being two of the foremost. From 1910 on, exhibitions of Russian artists helped to give the visual arts a higher public profile, and the Baku Artists' Society was founded in 1912. Contacts with Russian art and artists were the main determinants in the emergence of a native school of painting. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Russian artists of the realist school visited Azerbaijan, taking a huge interest in its national traditions and reflecting them - in accordance with their own ideas - in their work. Basically, these contacts did a great deal to modernise the local artists' vision. The Baku Art School, founded in the late twenties, gave them a new, professional ethos and produced a whole series of notable masters, including Tagi Tagiyev, Mikayil Abdullayev, Boyuk Aga Mirza-zade, Sattar Bahlulzade and many others. Essentially, they were realists, and concerned to produce truthful images of the world around them. This remained the dominant trend in Azeri art for many decades afterwards.
When the Soviet authorities took over in 1920, they at once began to "organize" the arts, and their efforts eventually led to the founding, in 1932, of the Union of Soviet Artists of Azerbaijan. Azeri artists (like artists in Russia and other socialist countries) saw accurate portrayal of the lives of working people as their main artistic goal. However, the national tradition was rooted in arts and crafts which were not essentially realistic, and so new skills were needed to convey reality truthfully, both in painting and in sculpture. The "national" character of national art - which remained a key issue well into the nineties - was hotly discussed in this context. In the mid-1930s, the training provided at the Azeri State Art School (ASAS) was reorganized, and many of its graduates were sent to study at art colleges in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Otherwise, the visual arts in Azerbaijan toed the Soviet line faithfully - stuck, in other words, to socialist realism, the only style accepted at the time. Essentially, this art was featureless. The only thing which made it different was its unswerving ideological alignment. Anything that failed to glorify the "socialist vision" of life was regarded as hostile and a threat to the system. This was the situation throughout Azerbaijan and in all the Soviet republics.
One cannot say, however, that this ideological pressure had totally negative effects on art in our country. In the 70-year history of Azeri culture under the Soviets, there were many bright pages too. There were genuine artists - true masters of realism in art, who sincerely believed in a style which could, at its best, produce creative masterpieces. There is much to be proud of in Azeri art of this period, and some of the best examples are on display today in the State Art Museum. In addition to the artists we have listed already, we should mention figures like Salam Salamzade, Mahmud Tagiyev, Khalida Safarova, Eyyub Mamedov, Togrul Sadikh-zade and - among the bright stars of the sixties generation - Taghir Salakhov, Togrul Narimanbekov, Rasim Babayev, Asaf Jafarov and Nadir Abdurahmanov. Of course, there were, among Azeri artists, some who were basically opposed to the dominant ideology, and so out of favor with the authorities. They inevitably forfeited the benefits which "socialist government" conferred on the yes-men, but their "non-ideological" stance brought them to the fore in the wake of the changes which occurred in the late eighties. The leading figures here were Ashraf Muradoglu, Javad Mirjavadov and Kamal Ahmedov.
The visual arts in Azerbaijan today are healthy, mature and diversified, and all the signs are that they have really found themselves, and have something distinctive to say. All the basic trends in world art are represented. Realism still exists, but has been purged of false pathos and steered into "healthy" channels. Many other styles - primitivism, expressionism, abstraction, etc. - coexist with it. The younger generation of artists, who started working in the late nineties, have been exploring various kinds of conceptual art, which require more financial and moral backing than the traditional forms. We are thinking here of land-art, installations, photo and video art, action painting, performance art, etc. There can be no doubt that artists today are totally free to follow their own creative inclinations. There can be no doubt either (and this needs underlining!) that this moment, when it comes, is the most important - historically - in the development of any people's art. But the changes in the life of the community, which this long-awaited, long-desired democratic freedom has brought us, are not all for the better.
One of the definite benefits of socialism was state support for artists and the arts. For artists, this meant rent-free studios, which were (and still are!) paid for by the Union of Artists, regular exhibitions, regular sales to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, state museums and the Arts Fund, regular travel within the country and (latterly) abroad, and state commissions for works concerned with themes of "state importance". The price of all this was (as we have noted) strict censorship and a rigid insistence that art must always have an ideological message. For over ten years now, the old "system", which kept artists going, has been in abeyance, and the only guarantees of success are talent - and luck. In other words, natural selection has been operating in the art community: mediocrities and time-servers are gradually leaving this once prestigious field, and only real artists, with a real sense of mission, are left to create and shape the Azerbaijani school, and win it a reputation today.
The Union of Artists of Azerbaijan now has about 1200 members. As before, it has sections devoted to painting, sculpture, arts and crafts, monumental art, drawing and criticism. As before, members may exhibit free of charge in its two galleries. However, additional costs are involved in organizing high-grade exhibitions, e.g. the printing of posters, invitations and, ideally, catalogues. Commemorative and other exhibitions are mounted free of charge in galleries controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism - primarily the Bahlulzade Gallery and the Mustafaev Gallery in the State Art Museum. The Museum is particularly active: this year alone, it has organised 22 exhibitions. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism controls 35 galleries - 34 for pictures, and 1 for other exhibitions. In addition to the Bahlulzade Gallery, these include the "Icheri Sheher" ("City Hall") Gallery, the State Picture Gallery, and 34 galleries in regional centers like Ganja, Shamakhy and Lankaran.
The Ministry has used state funds to organize numerous exhibitions in other countries, both near (CIS) and distant. These have included exhibitions of the work of Azeri artists, mounted in connection with festivals of culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Russian Federation (Moscow), Republic of Moldova (Kishinev), Republic of Belarus (Minsk). A similar exhibition was organized in Strasbourg, to mark our country's joining the Council of Europe. With the Ministry's direct support, exhibitions of the work of various individual artists (Farhad Khalilov, Vidadi Narimanbekov, Teymur Mamedov, Adalat Gara, Namig Dadashev, Yusif Mirza and Sakit Mamedov) have also been organized in France, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Norway and Russia. At home, the Ministry has sponsored and organized several exhibitions from Russia. Under the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the representatives of Azerbaijan repeatedly participated in creative workshops, organized by TURKSOY for young painters in Turkish-speaking countries. In 2001 a young Azerbaijani artist Rashad Mekhtiyev was awarded by International Grant of TURKSOY.
Our history, like that of any country, is full of memorable events - some tragic, some joyful. We have a sacred duty to remember them, and tell the young about them. Every year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan together organize exhibitions to commemorate the victims of 20 January, and to mark Novruz and Independence Day. The Ministry does not forget the young artists either - they, after all, will determine the future of art in Azerbaijan. Exhibitions of the work of young Azeri artists have been organized in the USA, Sweden, Japan, Iran, Turkey and France. Many young artists have also taken part in international competitions, bringing home various prizes and awards. Thirteen-year-old Tamara Mamedova, for example, has won gold medals at exhibitions in the USA, Sweden and Japan. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism also backs certain private sector contacts. Baku has a number of private art galleries, and the Baku Arts Centre, and the "Absheron" and "Giz Galasy" ("Maiden's Tower") galleries are particularly active in organizing exhibitions. The Baku Arts Centre, for example, has been running the annual "Azerbaijan Today" poster competition, sponsored by the "UNOCAL-Khazar" oil company and judged by a Ministry representative, since 1994.
The Union of Photographers of Azerbaijan, catering both for professionals and amateurs, was founded in Baku in 1998. It organizes monthly exhibitions/competitions, works with well-known foreign photographers and takes part in joint projects. From the very beginning, it has done useful work. Examples include ten individual exhibitions, and two international seminars, led by the famous photographer, Joseph Kudelka. In 2000, 11 Azeri photographers took awards in the prestigious "World Press Photo" competition, the 2nd International Photo Festival "Ayna" was organized in Baku, 2007. The modern visual art of Azerbaijan had been demonstrated in the 52nd Venetian Biennale - Universal Visual Art Exhibition held on June 7, 2007. The artists from 77 countries of the world have been represented at this exhibition which was lasted till end of October.
These and many other interesting visual arts projects are sponsored by various firms and foundations - the Open Society Institute prominent among them. State support for the visual arts is not limited to exhibitions, but extends to art education. Where children are concerned, the focal point here is undoubtedly the Children's Picture Gallery, which has been functioning for many years. The Academy of Art was founded in 2000, on the basis of the art departments at the State University of Culture and the Arts. This is now facing up to the problem of reorganizing and up-dating the whole system of art education - urgently necessary in view of the national situation, and of world artistic practice today, which is increasingly marked by the use of non-traditional and sometimes startling techniques. As well as training artists, the Ministry does all it can to assist them by continuing - in spite of the present economic situation - to purchase their works. So, in 2000, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism purchased 44 works, in 2001 - 49 and in 2006-2007 about 150 works of Azerbaijani artists. Both artists of old and young generations were among them.
Theatre. The centuries-old tradition of national theatre preceded the origin of the professional theatre of Azerbaijan. The "square performances" being combination of pagan, religious, folklore-musical and literary, dancing motives determined its essence and major value. The national theatre with its active improvisation character, and in definite cases put into the frameworks of religious-ritual performances, allowed the educators of 19 century to pledge the basis of new theatre. The progressive tendencies in cultural life of Azerbaijani society, which sharply formed at this time, have exhibited themselves in many spheres, including theatric art. And, it is necessary to mark, that the undertakings of the Azerbaijan intellectuals of that period took place in conditions of traditional Islam, not too encouraging entrainment for scenic art.
The plays of ancestor of classic national dramatic art Mirza Fatali Akhundov have played main role in origin of secular theatre in Azerbaijan. His «Vazir of Lankaran's khan» and «Haji Gara», staged in Baku in 1873 under the initiative of well-known educators Hasan-bey Zardabi and Nadjaf-bey Vazirov, became first drama performances not only in Azerbaijan, but also on all Muslim East. Basis of the genre of musical theatre in the East was pledged by opera «Leyli and Majnun» (1908) and operetta «Arshin mal alan » (1913) written by Uzeyir Hajibeyov. The theatrical performances at once became the phenomenon of not only Baku - in that time the center of guberniya (region), but also country towns Guba, Sheki, Shusha, Nakhchivan and also neighbor guberniya - Tiflis (Tbilisi) and Irevan (Yerevan), where considerable Azerbaijan population lived.
The theatrical repertoire was constantly beneficiated by the plays of the domestic writers, where the considerable problems of the time were encompassed. The youth obtaining education in Russia and Europe, actively translated works of foreign classics and staged the examples of world dramatic art. There was practiced adaptation under the Azerbaijani mentality of the known plays of European writers. Following to canons of that time, actors-men played female roles, the direction and decorations of performances were unpretentious, but at the same time in Azerbaijan there took place irreversible process of creation of theatre of a new type, incorporating European traditions and working out simultaneously the national originality.
The short period of existence of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (1918-1920) invoked a rough surge of national self-consciousness. In all spheres of a life of society, including theatrical art, there were taking place considerable events. By joining of separate theatrical troupes, the government of the first democratic republic has established on October 24, 1919 the state theatre. The creativity of such outstanding playwrights, as Jalil Mammadguluzade, Huseyn Javid, Jafar Jabbarli has given the impulse to further progress of professional theatre. Their dramatic art has stipulated the appearance of a brilliant actors' plead, among which there are names of Huseyn Arablinsky, Abbas Mirza Sharifzade, Sidgi Ruhulla and others.
In the Soviet period there took place prompt professional standing of the Azerbaijani theatre, which becomes an integral part of national culture and plays a considerable role in education of wide levels of the population, and at consequent stages - in forming of aesthetic views, propagation of universal values. After finish of the Second World War the theatre becomes less interesting to the party's ideological machine in propaganda sense, it started to be forced out by the cinema, and then the television. Many provincial theatres were closed.
The recovery of state independence in 1991 opened broad prospects and new possibilities for development of national theatre. At the same time, the destructive processes, appropriate to the transition period, breaking of the resisted points of view of both social-public, and personal nature, have rendered negative affecting on progressing of this sphere of culture. Attempts of mechanical implementation of principles of self-management into the activity of theatres at the beginning of 90's could not completely stabilize the situation. Overcoming of these difficulties needs conducting of deep transformations in all social-cultural spheres, development and implementation of new mechanisms of management.
Now in the system of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism 28 state theatres are functioning, among which there are the Academic State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, 15 drama theatres, Theatre of Musical Comedy, 3 Musical-Drama Theatres, Theatre of Young Spectator, 5 doll theatres, Theatre of Poetry, Theatre of Pantomime. Alongside with national theatres, reflecting the policy of cultural tolerance, in country there are functioning theatres staging performances in languages of the peoples living in Azerbaijan. To them first of all it is necessary to refer the Russian Drama Theatre after Samed Vurgun, established in 1923, Lezgin theatre (1992), Georgian National theatre functioning in the Alibeyli village of Gakh region Together with the network of state theatres, during the recent years there started to function the municipal and private theatres, studios, private enterprise and other types.
With the purpose of stabilizing of theatrical process, provision of systematic and fruitful activity of the theatrical network in the transition period the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has mobilized accessible financial, organizational and creative possibilities. For the last years at the expense of the budgetary funds great number of new performances were staged, among which there are the examples of foreign and national dramatic art represented by the names of Shakespeare, Schiller, Molier, Hugo, Bomarshe, Eduardo de Philippo, and also Fizuli, Mirza Fatali Akhundov, Jalil Mamedguluzade, Huseyn Javid, Jabbar Jabbarly and others.
In the result of Garabagh conflict four state theatres are forced to function in the situation of forced resettlement. Irevan and Shusha theatres are temporarily placed in Baku, Fizuli theatre - in Khoradiz, and Agdam - in Khuzanli. With the purposes of recovery of working regime of these theatres, which suffered from serious material loss, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism systematically finances their performances by arranging state contracts.
State contracts represent the basic form of sponsorship of theatres. It means search of performance projects, among which the preference is rendered to most perspective works in the creative plan. With state contracts there are provided not only the theatres in capital, but practically each of theatrical institutions operating in country, annually has a possibility to stage performance financed by the state. As the practice demonstrates, this form of support today allows establishing most effective conditions for scenic implementation of creative ideas of the masters of theatre. The engaging for financing of performances of funds of the private sponsors is encouraged. Under the recommendation and offers of theatres tens of works of new writers are annually purchased, the plays of foreign playwrights are translated into Azerbaijani language etc. It is necessary to underline the fact, that repertoire police remains the prerogative of theatrical collectives. The theatrical leaders (director, artistic director), working on a contract basis, in their turn also cooperate with creative and art-technical personnel of the theatres on contract basis.
The economical difficulties experienced by the state in the transition period, do not give opportunities of valuable supply of material and technical base for theatres. In this connection the Presidential Decree «On development of theatre art in Azerbaijan» gains special importance, envisioning realization of wide range of restoration-repair works in series of theatres, strengthening of material-technical base of Azerbaijan theatre, development of potentials of creative work and etc. At the same time it was decided the implementation of a new State Program "Azerbaijan Theatre in 2008-2018 years". The new building of one of the oldest theatrical institutions - Theatre of Musical Comedy have been constructed during the last years, there have been repaired State Doll Theatre, Theatre of Young Spectator and State Russian Dram Theatre and other theatres. Despite of financial deficit, it is possible to maintain festival-tour activity. On the basis of the agreements with neighbours Russia, Turkey, Finland, Iran, Austria, Estonia, Holland, Georgia and other countries there takes place the exchange of theatrical events. The national theatrical festivals, and tours inside country are organized. The new form of international cooperation is the involvement of our directors in the activity of foreign theatres.