For the Revival of the Opera “Kodayu”

Opera singer Eiko Aoki (1919-2010) undertook the production of the opera “Kodayu” in the 1970s to promote international exchanges through music. Inspired by “Hokusa Bunryaku” written by Hoshu Katsuragawa (1751-1809), the story is based on a true story of Daikokuya Kodayu, the captain of a Japanese cargo vessel, who was drifted in the sea and held up in Russia for 10 years about 200 years ago. Eiko appointed Farkhang Gousseinov (1948-2010) as the composer. Having studied under Aram Khachaturian at Moscow State Conservatory, this young Azerbaijani rising composer jeweled every scene with beautiful and touching melodies.

The idea of producing the opera “Kodayu” was interrupted in the course of the collapse of the socialism system in the former Soviet Union. 20 years later, on the 7th of September in 1993, the opera was finally premiered at the Orchard Hall, Tokyo, under the baton of Chitaru Asahina. Katsube, bariton, played the leading role, and Valentina Tsidipova, soprano, was invited from then Kirov Theater.

Tossed over by the state power of Russia, Kodayu, the main character of the opera, managed to return to Japan while struggling against severe natural condition and overcoming language barriers and cultural differences. Nevertheless, he was not welcomed by his home country where the Tokugawa Bakufu, the Japanese government during the Edo period, was taking the isolationist policy against foreign countries. Investigated by the government, Kodayu’s knowledge of Russia and his experiences there were recorded as valuable information in the charge sheet, and it is from this record that people today came to learn about these historical facts. Not only does this record reveal the difficulties Kodayu suffered in Russia, but also the relationships he deepened with the local people in such situation. Helped by Russians and working together with them at times, we are inspired by the precious story of friendships Kodayu cultivated in Russia. The composer Gousseinov himself led his life at the mercy of the era; due to the ethnic conflicts occurred in Azerbaijan, he was forced to leave his birthplace for Turkey to protect his family.

Although nowadays we can travel overseas more freely than before, the world bears complicated problems such as conflicts among ethnic groups and tensions among nations. We have to make sure not to let this stop the people-to-people exchanges. It is my sincere wish that the opera “Kodayu” will enable many people to communicate with each other and share its message.

Farkhang Gousseinov

Farkhang Gousseinov, who was born in 1949 in Baku, Azerbaijan, is a composer and violinist. He slated studying music in Baku and continued in Moscow. He received his musical education at the Baku and Moscow State Conservatories where his composition teachers were Kara Karaev and Aram Khachaturian. At the same time he studied in the violin class where his teachers were Leonid Kogan and Karp Dombaev. In 1975 he was graduated from Moscow State Conservatory and till 1978 he worked with Leonid Kogan as a violin assistant. Then he returned to Baku, where he started to work as a violin teacher of Azerbaijan State Conservatory from 1978 to 1992.

In 1992, he left Baku for Turkey, where he started to work as a head of the string instruments department of Cukurova University's State Conservatory Adana.

He played as a first violinist in the Quartets of Baku and Moscow, and performed in many cities of the former USSR.

He was a member of the Moscow Conservatories Orchestra in West Berlin in 1972, and there he won the Gold Medal in the Herbert von Karajan Competition.

As a composer, many of his compositions were performed in the former USSR and also in other countries. His Concerto for orchestra named “Traveling through the Time" won the prize at the International Composition Competition in Tokyo, Japan (1991). This competition was organized by Japanese TV Asahi and supported by UNESCO.

His oratorio “May Peace Prevail on Earth" which was composed in 1995 won Special Award of the World Peace Prayer Society of the UN.

Among his compositions are sonatas for piano, violin, children's cycle for piano, original pieces and transcriptions for violin and chamber orchestra, "Serenade for Strings," two cantatas for soloists, choir and orchestra, three chamber cantatas for soprano and chamber groups, string quartet, concerto for ten-instruments, two operas: Little Prince and Kodayu and also music for theater and cinema films.