Grand Opera Don Carlo Returns to Tbilisi Opera Stage after 15 Years

The world-famous opera ‘Don Carlo’ by Giuseppe Verdi will see a new grand premiere in the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater on February 15.

Don Carlo is a five-act grand opera composed based on the dramatic play Don Carlos (Don Carlos, Infante of Spain) by Friedrich Schiller.

Georgia first saw Don Carlos premiere in 1869, two years after its international debut at Salle Le Peletier in Paris in March 1867. The very first production of Don Carlo was introduced to the Georgian audience at the Karvasla Theater, the first theater for opera in Tbilisi, constructed in 1851. The last time the famous opera was staged at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater was in 2004, by Guram Meliva. Now, after a 15-year break, the iconic opera will be brought back to life through the 2018 production by the Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy.

The Director of the Don Carlo is Cesare Lievi; Music Director, Zaza Azmaiparashvili; and Set and Costume Designer, Maurizio Balo. Renowned Georgian opera singers and interns, as well as invited artists and directors, will take part in the concert.

The opera will be presented in Tbilisi in a brand-new staging of the Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy. The 2017 review by Giorgio De Martino for Sipario magazine praised the project as an ultimate success. “The visual and aesthetic side of the show goes in line with the musical sheet. The performance fully unveils the drama conveyed in music and text. The directors enliven this brilliant piece and uncover the dark period and inquisition of the 16th century Royal Court of Spain,” the review reads.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke with some of the main heroes of the upcoming project.

Zaza Azmaiparashvili, Chief Conductor of the Theater/Music Director of the Production: “This production was last staged in Georgia by Guram Meliva in the 1990s. Then, in 2004, we reproduced it. Paata Burchuladze was performing and invited brilliant bass Ferruccio Furlanetto. The concert was a real celebration. He transmitted such energy and spread such emotion among the team: he took straight to the stage and performed the entire opera without a rehearsal, having arrived a day prior. The music is remarkable and the opera itself is magnificent. Even though Don Carlo is one of the longer operas, it is not boring at all; on the contrary, the more you listen, the deeper you go into the music.”

Renowned Georgian opera singer George Andguladze will be playing Philippe II, King of Spain, in the production for the first time in Tbilisi. He has been recognized as one of the best young operatic basses of the present day by Maestro Daniel Oren.

“I performed this opera several times in Romania and Tel Aviv with Maestro Daniel Oren, but this is my first time doing so in Tbilisi. I’ll be flying from Verona to Tbilisi a week before the premier and the day after the concert flying to Buenos Aires where I’ll be performing Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi in the Colón Theater, one of the best and most important opera houses in the world,” Andguladze told GEORGIA TODAY.

Vittorio Vitelli, renowned Italian baritone: “This will be my debut as Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa. Throughout my career, I have met a lot of Georgian singers all over the world and have extremely close and friendly relations with them. For me, singing here is quite similar to singing in my homeland. My wife is great Georgian soprano Iano Tamar and it is a huge responsibility for me to sing before a Georgian audience. I know Georgians expect to hear me sing the same level as her, but that is impossible as Iano is unique,” Vitelli noted.

Ramaz Chikviladze, famous Georgian bass: “I have special feelings about and a particular attitude to this opera. A year ago, when I had my debut in this opera in the role of Philippe II, the King of Spain, in the Bucharest National Opera, I did my best to portray the historic figure, even though it was not easy to play such a powerful king. I am happy to have my debut in this role in Tbilisi Opera and I am also extremely nervous and feel the responsibility. Still, I am so captivated by this opera and my role, that I will never refuse to perform it as many times as I am offered”.

Tamar Iveri, celebrated Georgian soprano: “It is symbolic that the international audience discovered me in this very opera. Even though I had won several competitions prior to that moment, for a fledgling singer it can be hard to enter the operatic world and establish oneself without considerable experience under your belt. My agent encouraged me to go to the Don Carlo audition at the Theater Bonn. Despite some tough competition, I managed to impress the jury and even had them asking me to sing again! I was chosen for the role of Elisabeth de Valois, a French princess initially betrothed to Don Carlo but then married to King Philip. This was the very first role I played in Europe, in 2000. This was followed by performances in the leading theaters of Austria, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Munich, London, and others. As such, I would say this role was a turning point in my career.”

“Don Carlo is an opera where none of the characters are happy, none of them are satisfied with their lives and all have a tragic end. This is truly one of the best pieces by Giuseppe Verdi, implying a deep meaning and drama. Having such an important figure as Ioan Holender, the legendary Director of the Vienna State Opera whom Placido Domingo praised as the ‘Director of Directors,’ attend the concert and record it is an honor. He is going to prepare coverage about Tbilisi Opera as well as other cultural sites of the country and run it on his special TV channel in Austria. We are extremely excited and honored to host him at the premiere in Tbilisi Opera,” Iveri said.

The performances are scheduled to take place on February 15,16,17,23,24.

07 February 2019 17:17