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Koroghlu, the Opera
Composed by Uzeyir Hajibeyov
Libretto by Mammad Sayid Ordubadi

Synopsis of the Plot by Jala Garibova

Act 1
Peasants have gathered along the road and are complaining of how oppressive the khans (rulers) have become and about the hardships of life. Hasan Khan is plundering the villagers' barns and leaving them with nothing to eat. All of a sudden, Hasan Khan and his people appear on the road. Khan's people start beating the villagers and making them disperse.

Hasan Khan tells Ibrahim Khan, his Vizier, to go and prepare the horses and to choose the best from among them so that he can present it to his guest, who is his superior. Ibrahim Khan comes back and says that the herd has run off to the pasture with the exception of five or ten young mares. Hasan Khan orders that the groom, old Ali, be punished for driving the herd away. They bring Ali into the Khan's presence. Ali explains that he chose all the thoroughbred horses and kept them. However, the hangmen put out Ali's eyes, blinding him.

Nigar, Hasan Khan's daughter, complains about her father's cruelty. Rovshan, the son of Ali and beloved by Nigar, discovers how his father has been treated and gathers the people to retreat into the mountains. He challenges the people to rise up against the Khan and rebel. From that time onward, Rovshan is called "Koroghlu" (literally, the word means "blind man's son").

Act 2
Hasan Khan is waiting for Ehsan pasha's arrival. He has made great preparations for his arrival: the roads are covered with red carpets, the palace is all decorated, Khan's people are all dressed up and the dancers are ready. Now he is drawing plans to reconcile with Ehsan pasha, his enemy in fact, in order to work in alliance with him against the rebels.

Khan receives Ehsan pasha with honor and entertains him. Suddenly Khan's people enter and tell him that Korohglu stole all the taxes that they had gathered from peasants. Hasan Khan explodes in anger. Ehsan pasha suggests that they send some troops to take Koroghlu and bring him to the palace.

The clown laughs and says it would be stupid to send troops to bring Koroghlu here. He suggests that they should organize simply to bring Koroghlu's horse, Girat. If Girat is here, Koroghlu will come after it, because Girat always comes to Koroghlu's rescue whenever he is in trouble. Hasan Khan sends bald-headed Hamza to play a trick with Koroghlu and bring his horse: if Hamza is successful, he will marry Nigar who loves Koroghlu.

Nigar is in agony. She calls her brother Eyvaz and asks him to go and inform Koroghlu of the Khan's plans concerning his horse Girat.

Act 3
The crowds of people joining Koroghlu in Chanlibel, Koroghlu's fortress, increases every day. Hamza enters in shabby clothes and begs Koroghlu to let him stay in his fortress. He offers his services as a stable groom, and Koroghlu lets him look after Girat. Koroghlu's people warn him, but Koroghlu says if Hamza were sent by the Khan for spying, Nigar would have let him know.
It begins raining and people disperse. In the darkness, Hamza secretly mounts the horse and rides away.

Koroghlu becomes aware that Girat has been stolen. He is in despair. So depressed.

Act 4
There is a feast in Hasan han's hall on the occasion of Hamza's abduction of Girat. Koroghlu enters the stage having disguised himself. Koroghlu says he is an ashug (minstrel) and sings and plays the saz ­ a traditional stringed instrument - for the Khan and his people.

Suddenly Hamza enters and recognizes Koroghlu. He informs the Khan and they take Koroghlu captive. The footman enters, bringing Eyvaz and reveals that Eyvaz was caught as he was bringing a message to Koroghlu. Eyvaz wouldn't tell who sent him to Koroghlu. Nigar comes to her brother's rescue and says it was she who sent the message. Nigar expresses her hatred against the tyranny of the Khan.

Hamza pulls out his dagger to kill her since she has betrayed her father the Khan. At this moment Koroghlu breaks the ropes that bind him and gets free. He grabs the cudgel from the guard and kills Hamza. Then he mounts Girat and speeds away. The footman captures Polad who had helped Koroghlu recover his horse to the Khan.

Act 5
Messengers announce that three people will be decapitated ­ Nigar, Eyvaz and Polad for betraying the Khan. People beg the Khan to forgive them but the Khan is not willing to change his mind. Suddenly a shout is heard. It is Koroghlu. He enters with his followers and after a short battle, he rescues all three captives-his beloved Nigar, Polad and Eyvaz.


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