Georgia to Host World-Famous Verdi Festival

For the first time, Georgia will host the Verdi International Opera Festival as a tribute to the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Every year, Verdi’s hometowns of Parma and Busseto vibrate with unique colors and fragrances when the Verdi Festival comes to life, attracting millions of opera enthusiasts to Italy from all over the world. This time, and for the first time, the festival is moving beyond the borders of Italy and traveling to Georgia, something some say is an unprecedented phenomenon.

On August 23, 2018, Opera and Ballet Theater Artistic Director Badri Maisuradze signed a 3-year contract with the Verdi International Festival, giving the Tbilisi Opera Theater the exclusive right to hold the Festival in Georgia’s capital as well as other cities across the country. The joint initiative of the two countries is supported by the Government and Senate of the Republic Italy.

“For the first time, the festival will be opened in Georgia, since we host the festival in August, while the event takes place in Italy in September,” Maisuradze told GEORGIA TODAY. “The century-old festival kicks off in Tbilisi Opera Theater on August 16 and ends on August 25 in the Black Sea Arena, Shekvetili. The Verdi Festival was founded under the patronage of the great maestro’s family. At the decision of the commission of the festival, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater obtained the exclusive right to hold the festival in Georgia, which is a historic fact. Giuseppe Verdi is a composer whose pieces are performed most often in the world’s different theaters. Moreover, last year, the Verdi Festival claimed the prize of the Best Festival. It has never been held in other countries before in the entire course of its existence. So, this is a great honor and prestigious occasion, something our theater and country should be very proud of.”

The Verdi Festival program is as follows:

August 16 - The festival opens with a premiere of Teatro Regio di Parma’s production of Un Ballo In Maschera (A Masked Ball) at Tbilisi Opera Theater, involving Georgian artists of the venue. A masterpiece in the world of opera, the performance was staged in Georgia many years ago and now the Georgian audience will have the chance to enjoy the amazing show once again.

August 23 – The Black Sea Arena will see the first-ever opera performance held at its venue after hosting such big names as Black Eyed Peas, Aerosmith, and Robert Plant. The audience will be able to enjoy well-known classic Aida by the Arena di Verona Festival of Italy. The show in Georgia will be performed by foreign guest actors.

August 25 – The festival closes with the grand Opera Gala presenting pieces by Verdi at the Black Sea Arena. The final concert will include foreign opera stars.

“Festival Verdi is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world,” Giorgi Andzguladze, Deputy Artistic Director of the Tbilisi Opera, told us. “Classical music enthusiasts will be able to enjoy spectacular productions of the world’s leading theaters in Georgia. Such international stars as Daniela Barcellona (Mezzo soprano), Susanna Branchini (soprano), Gabriele Viviani (baritone) and many others will be part of this amazing festival.”

The Festival is supported by Mediaset (an Italian media outlet) which is making a documentary about it that will be broadcast in 15 European countries. Winners of a number of prizes, the broadcast team will visit Georgia to cover the festival and the country in line with the highest standards.

“This festival is equally important for Georgia as well as for our theater, since such projects are essential for the professional development of the troupe,” Eka Gelashvili, the Deputy Artistic Director of Tbilisi Opera Theater, told us. “I would like to thank each member of the theater, who, throughout the entire season, has committed themselves to their job. Thanks to their significant effort, the Tbilisi Opera Theater saw a number of opera and ballet premieres as well as important concerts and many projects. Currently, they are getting ready for Festival Verdi that lies ahead, as the musicians of our theatre play major role carrying out this festival at its best.

Festival Verdi in Georgia is aimed at positioning Georgia as a cultural center in the region and will foster the development of cultural tourism in the country as well as promote Georgia as a tourist destination on the world map.

“The show will be held at its best and will be technically well-organized. The event which annually takes place at the Arena di Verona allows thousands of people to listen to opera performers from different countries of the world. This is the first time Georgia, in particular the Black Sea Arena, is to host such a huge crew. And we are eager for more!” Tato Kharchilava, Director of Black Sea Arena told GEORGIA TODAY.

The festival is implemented with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, within the framework of the "Georgia, Europe" program. 

By Lika Chigladze

18 July 2019 18:57