The people of Shusha made it the pearl of the Caucasus, the cradle of our culture, the mugham-singing heart of Azerbaijan
Abdurrahim bey Asadbey oghlu Hagverdiyev was the Azerbaijani writer, a playwright, a translator, a publicist, a theatrical and public figure, the classic of the Azerbaijani literature. He was the honored worker of arts of Azerbaijani the Soviet Socialist Republic (1928), the first diplomat of Azerbaijan and the first conductor during demonstration of the opera “Leyli and Medjnun”.
Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev was born in 1870 in the town of Shusha. His father Asadbey was a secretary in the district administration. At the age of three years he lost his father and had to live at the uncle’s place for some time. In 1880 he was sent to school by his stepfather Sadikhbeyov. In 1890 Hagverdiyev finished the sixth class of the Shusha real college and entered the last class of the Tbilisi real college.
In 1891 Hagverdiyev completed his studies in Tbilisi and went to Petersburg to continue the education. He entered the Institute of Engineers of Railway Transport, and at the same time attended the courses of the east faculty of the University as an auditor.
In Petersburg to be playwright continued being interested in theater, often visits the Aleksandrinsky Theater to watch its performances. His first drama works “Eat goose meat and you’ll learn its taste” (1892) and “The ruined nest” (1896) were written in Petersburg.
In the drama “The Ruined Nest” (“The scattered union”) Hagverdiyev represented moral degradation of the Russian and Azerbaijani nobility at the end of the XIX century, the social and family tragedy of the landowner. It was Hagverdiyev, who for the first time in the Azerbaijani dramatic art created an image of the young man struggling against patriarchal feudal system in the play named “The Unfortunate young man” (1900). In the historical tragedy “Agha Mohammed Shakh Khadjar” (1907) he created the generalized image of the east despot. Hagverdiyev’s play “The enchantress Peri” (1901), which reflected the influence on the creativity of symbolist dramatic art, approved the idea of nonresistance to the evil. He also was the author of such realistic prosaic works as a cycle of stories “My Deers”, the stories “Infernal Letters of a Fright”, stories “The Bomb”, “Sheikh Shaban”, “Mirza Safar” and etc. Hagverdiyev played an important role in the Azerbaijani musical culture. He was the organizer of the first scenic performance based on one of the main genres of the Azerbaijani traditional music – Mugam.
Hagverdiyev’s best works express a protest against the oppression of the people, call on to fight against the remains of the feudalism and ignorance. Hagverdiyev, as well as N. Vezirov, showed the demoralization of the feudal system, moral degradation of the landowners, but in addition to that he expanded the frameworks of the novels of everyday life, extended a social sense of his plays, created the images of the heroes fighting for justice and protesting against violence. The author’s plays were in all Azerbaijani pre-revolutionary troupes. Hagverdiyev participated in the development of the national theater as well as the organizer and the director.
In 1899-1900 he directed the drama troupe of Shusha and later, together with G. Makhmudbeyov and D. Zeynalov worked in the Baku troupe, where he carried out the staging of the performances. Hagverdiyev achieved considerable successes in the activity of this collective and since 1900 the troupe became a professional one. In 1901-1903 he staged at this theater the plays of Najaf bey Vezirov, M.F.Akhundov and etc. Hagverdiyev directed the troupe till 1904. Hagverdiyev was the ideological head of the national theater during its formation, headed the fight for the scenic realism, a democratic orientation of the Azerbaijani theater, he aspired to enrich the repertoire, to make use of the experience of the advanced Russian culture, to achieve the naturalness and the ensemble in the actor’s performance.
In 1906 he was elected the deputy of the First State Duma from the Elizabethpol’s province.
Since 1907 Hagverdiyev was one of the leading authors of the fighting democratic magazine “Mullah Nasreddin”, where he placed stories, feuilletons, articles, which were sharply criticizing the bourgeois and landowner system and the ruling classes.
In 1919 Hagverdiyev was appointed the diplomatic representative of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the Mountain Republic, and then in Armenia.
During the Soviet power’s rule he worked as a head of the art department in the National commissariat of education, as a chairman of the Society of research and studying of Azerbaijan, as a teacher at the Azerbaijani State University.
During the Soviet period he also wrote such plays as “In a Tree Shadow” (1926), “The Old Generation” (1927) – the play where he opened a subject of crash of the noble world in a new way and condemned past remains, “A female holiday” (1928), “Comrade Keroglu” (1932). Hagverdiyev’s plays were shown at the Azerbaijani drama theater of Azizbeyov and other collectives of the republic. He also was the author of a sketch “From history of the Azerbaijani theater”. He translated Shakespeare (“Hamlet”), Schiller, Gorky, Chekhov and etc.
Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev died in Baku, in 1933.