Aida at the Tbilisi Opera


After 14 years of stagnation at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, namely in the section of opera, there is good news for Georgians: Badri Maisuradze, a new and very motivated, patriotically disposed, highly professional, world-acclaimed tenor, has been appointed to the post of Artistic Head. For many this means the best days are ahead, perhaps even the renaissance of the old Georgian opera glory.

And so it begins: in March, opera-lovers will have a wonderful opportunity to visit six performances of the immortal Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, to be staged by living legend, Franco Zeffirelli. This is an unprecedented performance in scale and artistic level. Like all Zeffirelli’s works, this is a masterpiece. Thanks to the great reputation of Maisuradze, the staging agreement was reached in less than three months. GEORGIA TODAY met Badri Maisuradze to find out more.

There are four world renowned versions of Zeffirelli’s Aida. Why did you choose this version (first staged in Parma for the festival of Giuseppe Verdi)?

There are far more than that but we chose this one because it best fits our opera and its capacities.

Who will perform the main parts?

On the very first night, we will offer a Georgian cast to the audience. Iano Tamar will be Aida, Anita Rachvelishvili will sing the part of Amneris, and Giorgi Oniani will be the Georgian Radames. Giorgi Gagnidze will personify Amonasro, Giorgi Andguladze will play the role of Ramfis and Ramas Chikviladze – the King of Egypt. The performance will be conducted by our special guest for the opening night – outstanding conductor Daniel Oren.

On March 5, a mixed troupe will be presented. Together with opera soloists, Khatuna Mikaberidze, a Georgian female singer leading a career abroad, will step forward together with the famous tenor James Lee. The conductor will be Marco Boemi.

On March 7, foreigners will perform alone. Aida will be played by Cellia Costea, whilst Radames will be performed by Rudy Park and Amneris will be embodied by Sanja Anastasia. Other characters are to be played by: Giacomo Prestia (Ramfis), Mattia Denti (King of Egypt), Filippo Micale (Messenger), Gonca Dogan (Voice of the High Priestess), and Giulio Boschetti (Amonasro). This day’s conductor will be Marco Boemi. On March 12, 15 and 18, the Tbilisi opera soloists will take part in the performances, conducted by Zaza Azmaiparashvili. In all six performances, the orchestra and the choir of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater will be present.

The Assistant Director to the foreign troupe will be Stefano Trespidi – a very well-known Italian director and a most trusted person of Franco Zeffirelli. He’ll be personally in charge of decoration and performance development.

What are your plans for the future?

As you know, within the past 14 years, there was a long stagnation. After 25 years, I came back from the Bolshoi Theater to restore the rich traditions of our opera. We plan to revive the opera life that is so much anticipated by Tbilisi opera lovers. For the coming year, we will offer three new performances to our respected audience: two Georgian classical pieces: Victor Dolidze’s ‘Keto and Kote,’ Paliashvili’s ‘Daisi’, and also Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’.

You’ve had an extremely active and busy international career since the 1990s. How compatible will these two serious occupations be?

Believe I can, and try my best to do both. However, my number one mission at present is to restore the opera repertoire as its glorious past and our audience deserve. I will do my best to be very supportive to our cast and indulge them with new performances and the chance to use their musical potential, be it as soloists or choir members.

WHERE: Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, Rustaveli Ave.

WHEN: On March 4, 5, 7, 12, 15, 18

Maka Lomadze

09 February 2017 21:14