Yuri Kuklachev: "I will be happy to visit Baku again!"
On October 15, the Big Moscow State Circus will host performance of the People's Artist of the RSFSR Yuri Kuklachev. It was in this arena where the world's first cat trainer began his career. Since then, he has worked at many platforms, including in Baku.
- Have you ever worked in a Baku circus?
- Yes, but a very long time ago, in 1975 or 1976. I still have very good memories of working in the Baku circus. At that time, we went from Baku to Nakhichevan by train, and we performed at the stadium there. I really liked cities and the entire country. I would love to bring our theater there again, but now you can go there only after you were invited. Invite me! It will be a performance for children.
- So you visited Azerbaijan in Soviet times?
- Yes. We spent last decades mainly abroad. We work in Moscow, and then immediately go to America; We’ work in Sochi, and then immediately go to France. At that time we were friends with director of the Baku circus. Azerbaijanis are very hospitable people. We spent free time in restaurants: celebration, dancing, pilaf. Fortunately, I didn't drink - I am allergic to alcohol. But everyone drank for my health.
- What else do you remember about Baku of the 1970s?
- I have very good memories. I remember swimming in the Caspian Sea, grilling kebabs. I remember how happy people were. I always loved Muslim Magomayev. I still listen to his songs and tell children: "Guys, listen, what a voice." Nobody can come close to his talent. God gave us such a miracle! Magomayev asked to bury him in Baku. When Oleg Popov died, he was brought to Germany - it's sad. And Muslim is a real hero of his country.
- Why are cats treated with such respect in the East?
- Muslims know that Prophet Muhammad really loved cats. He had about a dozen of them. One time, during a sermon, the cat fell asleep on his mantle. In order to not wake it up, he asked for a dagger and cut off a piece of his mantle. I like cats very much. I have guests from the UAE very often - they also treat cats really well. Japanese people are also like that.
- What other regions of the Caucasus have you visited?
- We just came back from Dagestan and Ingushetia - we often visit these places. Audience of these regions greets us really well. Children still don't know me, but their parents remember me. They tell their children: "Come on, I will show you a fairy tale of my childhood!" Even grandmothers come to my performances. One eighty-year-old grandmother also said that she came to look at the clown of her childhood. Even though I'm 70 and she's 80, I'm still a clown of her childhood.
People see me like that because I became famous very early. At 23, I was already famous, and at 30 I became a national artist and received the Lenin Komsomol Prize. But titles mean nothing; the most important things is to stay humble, remain human.