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Tigran Chuhadjian

(1837 - 1898)


Chuhadjian was born in 1837 in the family of a watchmaker who worked at the court of the Turkish Sultan, who also designed watches with musical mechanisms.


He lived in Constantinople, studied under the composer G. Yeranyan. In 1862-1864 he perfected in Milan, where Chukhadjian was greatly influenced by the music of G. Verdi. He began his career in the period of the rise of the national consciousness of the Armenian people. Founder of the first musical and theatrical troupes in Turkey and the Middle East. He took an active part in the work of the first Armenian musical society "Kpar Haykakan" ("Armenian lyre", Constantinople). Chukhadjian participated in the founding of the Armenian Lyre music magazine, public concerts, and lectures. He also managed one of the Armenian theater troupes in Constantinople. From 1877 he headed a musical and theatrical troupe.


Chukhajian was the founder of the first Armenian musical theater in West Armenia, thus becoming the founder of the first musical theater in Turkey and in the Middle East. Chukhadjian is one of the first Armenian composers to receive European musical education. He tried to combine the features of eastern music with the achievements of European musical culture.


Chukhadjian created the first operas, operettas, symphonic and chamber works in Armenian music. Chukhadjian created the Opera "Arshak II" (1868; in 1873 in excerpts; in 1945 entirely, edited by A. I. Shaverdyan and L. A. Khoja-Einatov, Armenian Opera and Ballet Theater), which laid the foundations of national opera classics. In this work, the composer relied on the urban musical folklore prevailing in Constantinople, especially Armenian national-patriotic songs, combining them with the achievements of Italian romantic opera. Chukhadjian's second major work is the opera extravaganza "Zemire", staged in Constantinople by French (1893) and Italian (1898) troupes. Chukhadjian's “Arif” comic opera (1872, Constantinople), based on Gogol's “The Inspector”, “Kese Kehva” operetta (the Bald Headman, 1873, Vardovian Theater, Constantinople) and “Leblebidzhi” (the Pea Seller, 1875, Vardovian Theater; “Karine” on Soviet stage) gained great popularity around the Middle East and Transcaucasia.


He died in 1898.

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