On November 4th the second Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts officially launched with a concert at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall, including a performance from a very special guest star - Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who was revealed on that night.
The Grand Opening Gala featured singers and international musicians from Azerbaijan and beyond, accompanied by the London Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The concert featured a variety of genres - from classical music, to traditional mugham, Azerbaijan's evocative and emotional national song, to the cutting edge contemporary jazz of Montreux prize-winner Isfar Sarabski.
Performers included popular sopranos Joan Rodgers CBE and Burçin Savigne, tenor Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, as well as virtuoso violinist Shlomo Mintz.
The 2014/15 Buta arts festival will run over five months and include events across London showcasing everything from the ancient skills of Azerbaijani carpet making, the creativity of our contemporary photographers, the unmistakable sounds of our jazz musicians and the excitement of live performances in the medium of modern immersive theatre.
The festival also involves cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery and Louise Blouin Foundation, while performances at venues from the Barbican to Southwark Cathedral explore the full range of Azerbaijan's music from classical to contemporary. Throughout the festival, seven artists from the Yarat Contemporary Art Space will display their work in public locations across London.
Nasib Piriev, Buta Arts Centre Director, said "I am delighted to open the second Buta Festival with a performance at one of London's best loved venues. The rich and diverse art of Azerbaijan is much loved by its people and neighbours in the region, but is still relatively unknown in many areas of the world. By bringing Azerbaijan's art and soul to UK's capital, Buta Arts Centre is pleased to share our heritage and thriving contemporary scenes on London's global stage."