Young Georgian Soprano Made Soloist of Vienna State Opera

Exclusive Interview

Tamuna Gochashvili, a 24-year-old Georgian opera singer, is a new discovery for the international opera industry. Recently, the young Soprano was made a soloist at the Vienna State Opera: an immense achievement for one so young! The charming and talented singer talked to GEORGIA TODAY about her accomplishments and future career.

How did you get into opera?

I’ve been singing since early childhood. When I was four, my mom took me to the Pioneer Palace in Tbilisi. She always knew how to put me on the right path, so I’m very thankful to her for her commitment and right decisions. There, I was trained by celebrated Georgian singer Tsitsino Tsitskishvili. Later, when I was 10, I enrolled in the Evgeni Mikeladze Music School, in Svetlana Egorova’s class, there my concertmaster was Prof. Teona Buadze. Through these unique people my musical life career began and continues still. In 2012, I was accepted at the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in the Academic Singing Department, in Egorova’s class. During my second year, I earned the V. Sarajishvili stipendium as the most successful student in the Vocal Department. I continued my studies at the Master’s Degree level at the Conservatoire followed by three solo concerts, each with different repertoires (Barocco, French Chamber Music, Italian Opera arias).

How did your successful international career begin?

I was doing the first year of my Master’s when I learned that an audition of the Theater Young Artists Opera Program was taking place in Tbilisi. The program of the Bolshoi Theater is similar to the European young artists program. I knew it offered participants international career prospects, and that’s what appealed to me the most. I passed the first round of the audition with success, but in order to make it to the final stage, I had to travel to Russia. I applied to the Ministry of Culture of Georgia for financial help and luckily got funding to cover the travel costs. I want to express my gratitude for such assistance and support from the Georgian government. I passed all the stages and was accepted into the program and so, since 2017, I’ve been a member of Theater Young Artists Opera Program of The Bolshoi Theater headed by Dmitry Vdovin. He is the very person who helps young talented singers to perfect themselves and create international careers.

How did you get invited to work in the renowned Vienna State Opera?

I took several auditions, including on the main stage of the Vienna State Opera. I sang the part of Tatiana’s letter from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, and Elvira’s aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. I had not sung this piece before. Symbolically, I performed the latter on the stage of Vienna State Opera, in the homeland of Mozart. The jury was well acquainted with this piece, so it was a huge responsibility for me. The conductor Philippe Jordan asked me to repeat the last passage several times and I handled my duty with success. When the audition was over, I was standing outside getting ready to leave, when suddenly my agent called me and told me to look carefully at the Vienna State Opera, the soloist of which I had just become. Before me was a theater that is considered one of the top opera houses in the world, with a rich history and where internationally renowned and the most celebrated opera singers have performed. In short, I felt like I’d come straight from being a student of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire on a direct flight to Vienna to become a soloist of that Opera House! What could be more wonderful? I signed a two-year contract with Vienna and from 2020, I will be working together with lead conductors and directors of the theater. I will also take part in premieres as well as plays that represent classics of the theater’s program.

How does your current schedule look?

Until July, I remain a member of Theater Young Artists Opera Program, within which I will be performing in many plays. My repertoire is very diverse, including Austrian Operetta, cantatas by Handel, and French Chamber Music of 20th century. After the completion of the program, I will fly to Austria to sing the part of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin composed by Tchakovsky. Then I will head to Finland where I will perform my favorite part of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at the Helsinki Opera House.

What does it mean to be an opera singer and perform on the world’s top opera stages at such a young age?

I think I’m very lucky. Being an opera singer is not just a profession: this is a way of life that requires great commitment and hard work, physical preparation and singing for several hours daily. My everyday routine also includes working on phonetics, text, musical material, style, acting and fitting to one’s role. As part of my work, I often have to change environments and adapt to new places, language and people. I think singing is like having an invisible instrument. It is such a profession that one will never lose, and if it happens so, then things can only get worse. I am just starting out, so I think the best is yet to come.

By Lika Chigladze

Photo: Tamuna Gochashvili. Photo Courtesy: Davit Tchalidze

18 April 2019 17:03