Polad Bülbüloğlu

Love and Death

 ballet in two acts with a prologue

Recommended age 12+


Music: People’s Artist of Azerbaijan, Professor Polad Bülbüloğlu
Libretto after the ancient Turkic epic The Book of Dede Korkut, choreography and staging: winner of international competitions Olga Kostel
Musical directors: Ayyub Guliyev, Andrei Ivanou
Sets: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Kostiuchenko
Costumes: Ekaterina Bulgakova
Scientific adviser: Doctor of Art Studies, Professor Ulkar Aliyeva
Lighting: Irina Vtornikova
Computer graphics: Elena Tumanova
Assistant ballet masters: Honoured Artist of the Republic of Belarus Yuliya Dziatko, People’s Artist of Belarus Igor Artamonov, People’s Artist of Belarus Kanstantsin Kuzniatsou

Running time: 2 hours with one interval
Premiere: 11 June 2016



Night on the eve of the holiday of spring, Novruz, when the connection with the past is especially strong. Stone statues are moveless in their magic wait on the slopes of the mountains. Love and Death, black and white elements that connect people with their ancestors and descendants, enter to tell a story of one of the statues.
The stone comes to life: Azer is born of it. Each element tries to win the young man. Azer chooses Love which shows how to grow a flower from a stone.

Act 1

Dawn. Azer feasts his eyes on the flower. Its beauty gives life to other stones from which Oghuz lads and girls appear. The beautiful Baijan is among them. The girls tell their fortune, tying ribbons to the Tree of Life; the lads compete, demonstrating their deftness and strength. Baijan watches them with curiosity. Having changed into men’s clothing, she joins the competition.

Fire is started, carpets are woven – all the Oghuz camp is on the move, preparing for the holiday of spring. Oghuz Khan appears to traditionally perform the rite of the veneration of the forefathers under the Tree of Life.

The holiday opens with the ancient yalli dance praising the sun. In a round dance Love pushes Azer and Baijan, dressed as a dzhigit, to each other. Death, on the contrary, moves them apart. The confrontation between the elements results in the competition between Azer and Baijan. Love wins in the whirlpool of the fight. Overexcited, Azer tears men’s clothing off Baijan and is surprised to see a girl in front of him. Impressed by her beauty, the lad declares his love to Baijan and gives his flower to her. The sweethearts are gripped by the power of Love that spreads the news about the coming wedding.

The young men receive Oghuz Khan’s blessing. When a merry feast is in full swing, the bridegroom shoots an arrow according to an old custom – the wedding marquee will be placed where the arrow falls. All of a sudden Death appears, bringing the body of a dead warrior. The wedding is interrupted, and everyone is seized by the black element.

Like an avalanche, an incursion of Kipchaks falls on Oghuzes and separates the sweethearts. Baijan is kidnapped, Oghuz Khan is murdered; the Oghuzes’ camp, not long ago in bloom, turns into a scorched desert. Grieving over the lost Baijan, Azer is taken prisoner. Love mourns for killed warriors, who are turned into stones by the will of Death.

Act 2

Kipchaks’ camp. Their leader, Khan Kara Melek rejoices at an easy victory over Oghuzes. The proud khan is dazzled by the maiden’s beauty. He wishes to approach her, but at that time the warriors bring another captive. Baijan recognizes Azer, and the sweethearts rush to each other. The joy of their meeting irritates Kara Melek: he is outraged at the fact that she prefers another man to him. Kara Melek orders to give the Oghuz beauty to the harem and to chain Azer to the rock.

To entertain the khan, the warriors bring his concubines. Kara Melek is gripped by the desire to get advantage of Baijan as soon as possible. Left alone, Kara Melek vainly tries to win the love of the proud girl and, insulted by her refusal, he throws her to Death’s embraces.

Azer’s sufferings allow Love to give him great power. The young man releases himself. Hurrying to help his beloved, he conquers the Kipchak warriors and kills Kara Melek. However, his victory is followed by terrible disappointment: he cannot find Baijan anywhere. The black element has absorbed her, leaving only the dress and the flower once given by Azer. He realizes that he is late.

Love and Death appear again in front of the young man. His feeling for Baijan and excruciating pain of the loss of her make Azer agree to the deal with Death this time: the black element sets her free in exchange for his life.

Back to life, the girl mourns for her beloved. Love hands her Azer’s flower which becomes her consolation. Baijan passes the flower to the Oghuzes survived, and it spreads out. The powers of Love help Baijan turn the flower into a huge garden, all in blossom – it’s his memory. Blooming every spring, the garden gives flowers, reminding people about the love story of Azer and Baijan.