Botero Masterpiece in 120 Paints & 200 Pencils at Tbilisi Opera Theater

Since its re-opening, the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater has been indulging opera lovers with world masterpieces and renowned Georgian and foreign singers. On May 28, the premiere of immortal L’Elisir D’Amore by Gaetano Donizzetti took place, based on the paintings and sets of great modern painter Fernando Botero.

The spectators had a wonderful opportunity to see the distinguished stage version of Fernando Botero, one of the most renowned artists of the modern era and a Columbian painter and sculptor who lives in France. Even in the impressive staging and colorfulness, one can easily decipher the style called Boterism – exaggerated scales of human beings and figures. The production was presented by Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Botero’s works have been exhibited in such significant public places as: Park Avenue, NY, Champs d’Elise, Paris, Sothebys Museum, MOMA, etc.

This version of L’Elisir D’Amore conforms to the tradition of comic opera. It brings us to the magic and parallel world of Botero, where the funny story of naïve young peasant Nemorino, his sweetheart Adina and charlatan Dulcamara are played in a colorful circus. “There is nothing that would make a Latin American man paint camels and lions unless he paints a circus,” writes Botero, “I knew that the circus was an attractive topic for a lot of outstanding as well as for lesser known painters. In their times, this theme drawn the attention of Renoir, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Chagall, Leguet, etc. However, I had never touched it before. I started thinking about those numerous potential paintings and made up my mind to do something around the theme. This ’something’ is a painting, fulfilled in 120 oil paints and 200 pencils.”

On the first day, an international cast performed including tenor Pablo Karaman (Nemorino), soprano Mariola Cantarero (Adina), baritone Mario Cassi (Belcore) and bass Michele Pertusi (Dulcamara). Tbilisi was honored to host the world premiere of the production of Fernando Botero, based on the opera of Donizzetti, with the abovementioned distinguished singers.

Michele Pertusi (Dulcamara), worldwide famous Bass, said, “For me, this part is very important. Surprisingly enough, I have not sung it since my youth. I have sung in this role several times in Bologna and La Scala. It is distinguished because Dulcamara is a typically Italian personage. I believe that the Georgian audience will like it. Even though it is very cheerful and playful, it is quite a complicated part from the vocal point of view.”

Pablo Karaman, Tenor, Argentinian-Italian singer, told GEORGIA TODAY, “This is my first time here, in Georgia. I have a lot of Georgian friends in Italy, Florence, who I met at the college. They are wonderful people. From Georgian singers, I know Tamta Tarieli who is one of the prominent singers. It is very exciting to be here because I know that Georgians are famous for their gentleness.” Karaman confessed that although he had heard about the long tradition in opera, he did not expect such beauty. “The Theater itself is wonderful. The production made by maestro Botero, full of colors and passion, makes a contrast to this building. I have sung many times as Nemorino in other productions. So, participating in this production is an honor because there is something Latin American there. I come from Argentina, but I live in Italy.”

Mario Cassi, Baritone, had heard a lot about Georgia from his renowned Georgian colleagues and could not help being happy to com here, “I already had a chance to meet and sing with a lot of great Georgian voices. The first one was Paata Burchuladze. It was a pleasure to sing with him. Later, I met Badri Maisuradze, Tamar Iveri, Nino Machaidze and Salome Jikia, who is an amazing soprano. I have sung everywhere, but I can tell you that this hall inside is really amazing. The orchestra is very good, too. Georgian voices are well-known. I am always happier when non-Italians sing my Italian music in a better style than Italian singers. I’m so proud that opera connects so many different cultures.”

The conductor Walter Attanasi expressed his positive surprise at the Georgian orchestra. To the question of GEORGIA TODAY whether he had met any Georgian musicians, he replied, “I met Ketevan Kemoklidze and George Andghuladze. I have also worked with a great singer Badri Maisuradze.”

The assistant director of marvelous performance, directed and designed by Fernando Botero, is Victor Garcia Sierra. At the opening night Tbilisi State Opera Orchestra and Chorus was conducted by Walter Attanasi. The next performances will take place on the 4th, 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th of June with diverse casts. On the 10th and 11ththe performances will start at 14 o’clock in the afternoon. Tickets are on sale at the box office of Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theatre and at

Maka Lomadze

01 June 2017 18:20