Author: Samira KAZIMOVA
"Music is not just a rhythm and melody, it’s a real oxygen," believes the young and talented Azerbaijani vocalist Nigar Jafarova. This is her second year at the Department of Vocals of the Uz. Hajibayov State Musical Academy. She has recently become the winner of the international contest Caspian Breeze held in Baku under the Salute of Talents project attended by young musicians, vocalists and dancers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. Nigar Jafarova shared her impressions about this contest and told about her attitude to music.
Nigar, can you tell us about your participation in the Caspian Breeze? How did you get there?
The contest was held in Baku in late April 2017. I performed one of my favourite arias also loved by the audience, O Mio Babbino Caro from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I would also participate in the gala concert of the festival. But I was even more pleased to learn that I actually was the winner of the Caspian Breeze. In addition, I received awards in the nominations Best Costume and Best Music Number. It was very unexpected and incredibly pleasant.
You also took part in the VII International Creative Festival Moscow Believes in Talents. Share your impressions of this contest please.
It all started with an invitation I received. I had only a week for preparations before the start of the competition. The festival was held in Moscow, in the main concert hall of the Ostankino TV tower. Of course, it was very interesting to take part in it. It was a good experience for me. The competition involved a huge number of performers, musicians and dancers from Kazakhstan, Belarus, Dagestan, Ukraine and other countries. I was pleased to get to know and talk to guys from different countries, each of us wanted to learn and share something new and interesting. I took part in the category of Academic Vocals. I performed Maria's aria from Tchaikovsky’s Mazepa. It was nice to know that the judges were surprised by my performance because there were no such complex numbers at this festival. I was ranked the second.
Nigar, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in 1997 in Baku in a creative family. My parents are architects. Hence my interest in architecture, since the architecture is music frozen in stone. My mother has engaged in music since her childhood. Thanks to her absolute hearing, she has masterfully played the piano. I'm sure that I learned music skills from her. My grandfather is People's Artist of Azerbaijan Mubariz Taghiyev. We have a very large and musical family. I also have two younger sisters and a brother. The sisters, like me, have graduated from music school: one in violin and one in vocals, but I was most interested in music. In Moscow, I studied until the 9th grade. In 2012, I moved to Baku and entered the Republican Gymnasium of Arts to continue my music education in my homeland. Besides music, I am interested in literature, architecture, and painting.
When did you decide to become a vocalist? Why did you choose classical performance, and not the stage music, for example?
I have had a desire to become a musician since my childhood. Apart from music, I was also interested in art and drawing. Mom has noticed my abilities and enrolled me to a music school. There I studied vocal singing but I always preferred classical music. It helps me to form as a person, I feel comfortable when I perform the classics. I am still very fond of drawing and almost always draw when listening to music. Each direction in music is beautiful in its own way. But academic vocal is the basis of everything. This is what I want to develop and improve. Academic vocals require special efforts and constant work, which attracts me most.
What does the classical and academic training give you?
Academic music education gives me everything to be a professional musician and vocalist. But first and foremost, it means cultural development. Since my childhood, I have dreamed of going to the Music Academy. In 2015, my wish came true, and I went to class of the People's Artist of the USSR and Azerbaijan, Professor Fidan Gasimova.
What is the real music for you? Why certain genres of music are not considered art?
The real music is the music coming from one’s soul. It is the most sincere, penetrating and pure piece of art. This is love that comes from the depths of one’s heart, as Berthold Auerbach once said: "Music is a universal language, and needs not be translated. With it soul speaks to soul."
The depth and breadth of academic music are unlimited. What do you like to perform? What are your favourite pieces?
In fact, I have many favourite pieces, so it's hard to decide on some special ones. I always pay attention to the complexity of the repertoire, it is much more interesting to work and improve my abilities on a technically difficult work.
Where do you like to perform? Which audience is ideal for you?
I like to feel the support and sympathy of the audience. But to get something, you need to give something. People love sincere emotions.
Which authors, composers make a better start to get involved in learning the good music?
I think everyone finds music that is close to him spiritually based on his or her preferences. I love music and I listen to music of all genres, each has its own flavour, although I still prefer the classics. Among my favourite composers are Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Wagner, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Hajibayov, Garayev, Glinka, Schönberg and many other outstanding composers. I am also interested in neoclassicism and other modern musical trends.
Nigar, what would you like to achieve in life?
I am a single-minded person and try to always achieve my goals. My main task is to become a professional in my business, to represent my country abroad at the highest level. And for this, I need to work hard and improve my skills.
Do you have idols among the performers of the present and the past?
My role model is my teacher. While still a child, I was well acquainted with the works of Fidan Gasimova. One cannot confuse her voice with someone else's. Fidan-khanim cultivates in her students a great love for music, especially for vocal art. She is very demanding as a mentor, which I always liked in her very much, but at the same time, she treats us with love and warmth. My teacher is a gift of fate. After all, if not the master is your role model, then who?
Besides, I have many idols among the classical music performers: Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Shade, Michael Jackson and so on.
Do your friends share your interest in music?
Of course! I like being friends with creative, musical, and knowledgeable people. Extraordinary people evoke in me a great interest in them. Music preferences are not the same for everyone, but it's more interesting. We share the compositions we all like with each other and we get to know new genres and trends in music. It's wonderful because music brings us together, touches the strings of our soul. I cannot help quoting Bach: "The purpose of music is to touch the heart".