Renowned Conductor Daniel Oren to Present Opera Fantasy at the Tbilisi State Opera

On January 16 and 18, opera enthusiasts have the chance to listen to the incredible classical masterpieces conducted by world-renowned conductor Daniel Oren at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater. The shows will mark the start of Oren’s work as Musical Director of the State Opera of Georgia.

The concert, named Opera Fantasy, will feature the Tbilisi Opera Choir as well as its Orchestra. The audience will have an opportunity to enjoy overtures and pieces from opera classics such as Giuseppe Verdi’s The Force of Destiny, Don Carlos, Macbeth, Nabucco, and Aida, as well as Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.

The celebrated conductor’s brilliant international career started in 1975 by his winning the first prize at the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition. At different times, Oren led prestigious Italian theaters such as the Teatro Verdi in Triest, Opera San Carlo in Naples and Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In 2007, he was appointed Artistic Director at the Municipal Theater “Giuseppe Verdi” in Salerno, and in 2018 he became the musical director at the Tbilisi Opera Theater, signifying for him the start of an artistic and musical life in the capital of Georgia.

Although the famed conductor developed his career in Italy, Oren has performed in a number of leading operas around the world, including at the New York Metropolitan, Covent Garden in London, Staatsoper in Vienna, Colon in Buenos Aires, as well as in Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington and Tokyo. He has cooperated and performed together with the brightest stars of opera, including Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and many other celebrated singers.

Classical music and opera have been always cherished in Georgia. The country has a rich tradition of performance art dating back centuries. The first opera and theater was constructed between 1847 and 1851 on the present Liberty (Freedom) Square in Tbilisi and was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Scudieri. The opera house hosted a number of Italian opera singers and citizens were instantly intoxicated by the magical music, even though they did not understand the language. Even Alexandre Dumas was so entranced by the Tbilisi Opera Theater during his travel through Georgia that in his “Adventures in the Caucasus” he wrote, “I thought I was at the theater of Pompey. Never have I seen such an impressive theater hall in my life.”

Following a devastating fire, a new opera building was built in the mid-19th century on Rustaveli Avenue, yet it, too, was destroyed by fire: twice. A few years ago, this amazing Neo-Moorish building was restored and reopened. Now, in Daniel Oren’s hands, a new era beckons for the Georgian opera.

Oren got his first taste of the Tbilisi Opera Theater on March 4, 2017, at the premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida . Even though he stayed for just one day, he promptly fell in love with Georgian singers and the audience. This is how he recalled his visit to Tbilisi and cooperation with Tbilisi Opera in an interview recorded in June 2017 in Italy, at Arena di Verona:

“I spent just one night in Tbilisi; we did a rehearsal and then we performed the premiere of Aida. It was a miracle. The Georgian singers were fantastic [Iano Tamar, George Oniani, Anita Rachvelishvili, George Gagnidze, George Andguladze, Ramaz Chikviladze]. Iano Tamar was incredible, particularly how she did Si and Do in the Third Act. I think now, Georgians have the best quality singers in the world. It was a magical evening in Tbilisi, and the public was amazing. I’ve never seen a public like what I saw in Tbilisi; with such a warm heart. Believe me, I know a little of the whole world and most theaters. And then, after the performance, 300 people on the stage spoke with us, embraced us. It was an extraordinary experience. I’ve never had an experience like this, and I truly hope to return to Tbilisi.”

Lika Chigladze

11 January 2018 19:16