In Commemoration of Maya Kulieva: Facets of Life and Talent

Hero of Turkmenistan, People’s Artist of the USSR Maya Kulieva (born May 1, 1920 died April 27, 2018) would have turned 100 on May 1.The Magtymguly Music and Drama Theater hosted a special evening honoring and paying loving tribute to opera diva whose name is closely associated with important milestones in the history of Turkmen opera.

The concert featured arias sung by opera stars of the national classical school.Played by the State Symphony Orchestra under Rasul Klychev, an extract from the Opera Leyli and Mejnun’ served as a prelude to the magnificent musical performances.

Video footage shown on the big screen provided insights into the career and notable achievements of the naturally gifted opera singer who had a powerful voice and strong personality.

The girl, who was born in the settlement of Bezmein (presently the capital’s Byuzmein etrap), had a life more like a fairy tale.Although left an orphan at the age of eight, Maya’s outstanding talent coupled with her determination and charisma (as though in recompense for her grief and loss) helped her to mature into an extraordinary person and singer. … The girl’s first steps on a path towards her singing career began when she took part in amateur performances and her remarkable vocal talent was spotted.

Later she was granted priority admission to the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory, the Vocal Department.Thus, the girl, who had never learned how to read or notate music, became a student of the country’s most prestigious institution of music.

Maya Kulieva graduated from the Conservatory in 1941.She began working at the Magtymguly Opera and Ballet Theater not only as a leading singer but also as a production director.

Maya Kulieva became one of the pioneers in opera in the country.She was given the following honorary titles: Honored Artist (1943); People’s Artist of Turkmenistan (1952); People’s Artist of the USSR (1955).

The Turkmen National Conservatory is named after Maya Kulieva.The tribute evening featured songs and opera arias Maya Kulieva, who had an expressive soprano voice, used to perform admirably.

They included Ayna’ and Shasenem and Garib’ by Danatar Ovezov and Adrian Shaposhnikov; Kemine and Kazy’ by Veli Mukhatov and Julia Meitus; Zohre and Tahir’ by Danatar Ovezov and Adrian Shaposhnikov...

Among those performing were People’s Artists of Turkmenistan Atageldy Garyagdyev, Gulnar Nuryeva, Muratgeldy Bayramgeldyev, Atajan Berdyev, as well as Honored Artists of Turkmenistan Gozel Ovezova, Arzygul Kulieva, Ismail Jumaev, and others.

During intermissions between the opera arias, cultural figures: Maya Kulieva’s relatives, fellow professionals and friends took to the stage to speak.Hero of Turkmenistan, poetess Gozel Shagulyeva, People’s Artist of Turkmenistan Jemal Saparova, People’s Artist of Turkmenistan Saragt Babaev, People’s Artists of Turkmenistan Atageldy Garyagdyev and Muratgeldy Bayramgeldyev, Honored Art Worker of Turkmenistan Aynazar Batyrov, Merited Cultural Worker of Turkmenistan Pygy Bayramdurdyev, opera singer Murat Divanaev, and Maya Kulieva’s daughter, Mahym Annaeva, shared their impressions of the first time they met the legendary singer and interesting memories of Maya Kulieva.

Maya Kulieva contributed immeasurably to our country’s musical culture.Not only was she a pioneer in opera, but she also made every effort to fully share her knowledge and expertise, and to lend fresh impetus to the development of opera in the post-independence period.

In 2009, Maya Kulieva was awarded the country’s highest decoration the title of the Hero of Turkmenistan and the gold Altyn Aý Medal in recognition of her services for the native country and invaluable contributions to Turkmen culture.

She was also the recipient of the Commemorative Medals in honor of the country’s independence and neutrality, the Magtymguly Pyragy Medal, and the Prize of the President of Turkmenistan Creative Competition.

The concert commemorating the legendary singer, who passed away just two years before her 100th birthday, fascinated with the soul-stirring songs and arias, and brought out sincere emotions.

Members of the audience, who were obviously impressed by what they had seen and heard, did not leave the venue for long after the event ended.They attended an exhibition organized in the foyer showcasing Maya Kulieva’s personal possessions from a collection of the Museum founded at the Turkmen National Conservatory in autumn 2019.

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