State Ballet Breathes New Life into Tbilisi Opera Theater with 'Gorda'

On February 12th the State Ballet truly woke up the stage of the Tbilisi Opera House from its six-year slumber with a stunning rendition of 'Gorda,' originally choreographed by famed Vakhtang Chabukiani and brought to breath-taking freshness by prima ballerina Nina Ananiashvili.

'Gorda' tells the story of a young man, Gorda (played by Igor Yebra, principal soloist of the Bordeaux and Rome theatres), who falls in love with the Princess Irema (Nino Samadashvili) when he meets her on a Royal Hunt. His young lover, Javara (Lali Kandelaki), is broken-hearted and filled with spite and jealouy when Gorda leaves her to join the Royal Court. Her bitterness turns her into a witch, and her love for Gorda eventually drives her to kidnap the son he has with the Princess, but not before the young Gorda has travelled to the East and back to defeat the Khalifa and his invading army...

The story of love, passion, jealousy and celebration was told with rich colors and an incredible musical accompaniment. The scenery was so deep- with animated screen in the background and bright, textured, fast-changing sets (hand painted by Davit Monavardishvili)- as to draw the audience fully into the life and times of the characters. The lighting, too, was spectacular- with scenes danced behind semi-transparent painted screens adding a further depth to the tale.

Without doubt all the dancers were incredible but I have to name my favourites as Igor Yebra- for his heroic portrayal of the young Gorda and in recognition of how well he took on the challenges of Georgian dance- and Lali Kandelaki for her genuine emotion and energy in playing the love-stricken Javara.

A must-see, not just for the brilliance of the State Ballet troupe, but for the historical feel of old-Georgia that will leave you wanting more.

See a pre-Gorda meeting with the dancers and set designer here.

Katie Ruth Davies

13 February 2016 16:34