Musical-Poetic Performance dedicated to Mandelshtam

On the 20th of February, the Russian Club – International Union for Culture and Education - organized an intermedia performance of poetry and music at the Alexander Griboedov Russian Drama Theater to mark the 125th anniversary of famous Russian poet Osip Mandelshtam.

“I Have Dreams about Mountainous Tbilisi” was the title of the soiree in which it was demonstrated that a significant part of the creative life of the Russian poet was connected with Georgia, the Georgian environment inspiring him to write one of the most famous poems about Tbilisi with the namesake title (In Russian: Мне Tифлис горбатый снится»). From this verse, the composer Tengiz Jaiani created a song specifically for the evening.

The performance was staged by Levon Uzunian, director of the Adamian Armenian Theater, with the leading actors of both the Griboedov and Adamian theaters participating, including Irina Meghvinetukhutsesi, Archil Baratashvili, Oleg Mchedlishvili, Merab Kusikashvili, Ashot Simonian and Sergo Saparian. Explicitly for the soiree, the book by researcher of Tbilisi history, Vladimer Golovin, who happens to be a writer and journalist too, was printed about Osip Mandelshtam from the series called “Russians in Georgia” and given out as a gift to all attendees.

Osip Mandelshtam was born in 1891 in Warsaw. He spoke French, German and English fluently and spent a lot of time on translational work. He translated into Russian the verses of Georgian genius Vazha-Pshavela, as well as such eminent Georgian poets as Titsian Tabidze, Valerian Gaprindashvili, Giorgi Leonidze and Nikolo Mitsishvili. In 1933, Mandelshtam wrote an epigram against Stalin which led him to be arrested and exiled to Northern Ural for a time. In 1938, he was arrested again and sentenced to five years exile for his contra-revolutionary acts. He passed away that same year. The mere mentioning of his name was forbidden in the Soviet Union for the next 20 years.

Nadejda, Maldenshtam’s wife, preserved his verses and sketches, sharing the challenges and hardships with the poet and husband she adored. Irina Meghvinetukhutsesi, the actress playing her part, told GEORGIA TODAY, “During the repressions, the last letter of Nadejda to the poet became like a hymn to all the wives of all those who were arrested. It was quite interesting to work on this part, as their life was very tragic. It is interesting to get to know someone who lived with a genius. I found out during my research that she was not just the wife of Mandelshtam, but an extraordinary and interesting persona herself. They lived in poverty but with an interesting life spent in the literary circles of various countries.”

Oleg Mchedlishvili, the actor who embodies Osip Mandelshtam, told GEORGIA TODAY, “It’s been a great honor for me to be involved in this project as Osip Mandelshtam for me is a genius poet. I wanted to convey the drama of his life, and I think this staging gives a lot of ground for that to us, actors.”

The audience gave a standing ovation to those actors. Following the show, GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Valeri Asatiani, professor and former Minister of Culture. “Osip is the representative of a distinguished generation of poets, together with Pasternak. Their relations with ‘Tsisperkantselebi’ (Blue Horns, an order of Georgian poets), as well as Georgian national topics reflected in their works is really thrilling. Mandelshtam left us a supreme poetry as well as the example of supreme friendship with Georgia, Georgian history and Georgian poets. It is very good that today, the theater has marked such an occasion, bringing his poetry to life again.”

Maka Lomadze

25 February 2016 19:15