Georgia has given the world a large number of skilled opera singers. The success of Georgian opera as an art form is largely due to the country’s robust singing traditions and history. In the 19th century, Georgia experienced an Opera boom beginning opening of the Tbilisi Opera Theatre in 1851. 5he composition of the first Georgian opera, Darejan the Wili, by M. Balanchivadze (1897) and the legendary “Georgian Nightingale” Vano Sarajishvili introduced a golden era of Georgian operatic theater. Vano was popular for his strong, beautiful, charming voice; acting talent; and vivid scenic artistry. Sarajishvili’s performances combined traditions of the Russian vocal school, Italian Bel Canto, and native Georgian techniques. Starting in the pre-republican era, and throughout the twentieth century, georgian opera produced a large number of outstanding opera singers such as: I. Sarajishvili, A. Inashvili, Z. Anjaparidze, D. Andghuladze, D. Badridze, Gamrekeli D., P. Amiranashvili, N. Tsomaya, B. Kraveishvili, Z. Sotkilava, and M. Kasrashvili.

Georgia’s modern opera singers work to maintain this tradition and continue represent their country among the best performers on the world’s leading stages.

1. Anita Rachvelishvili | mezzo-soprano

Anita Rachvelishvili
Photo Source: gbopera.it

Anita Rachvelishvili made her debut in the Tbilisi Opera when she was still a student. In 2007, she entered the Academy of La Scala, in Milan, where she was discovered by Daniel Barenboim and cast her in the title role of Carmen to open the 2009-2010 season alongside Jonas Kaufmann. Anita Rachvelishvili’s collaboration with the well known Georgian pianist David Aladashvili has been remarkable and very interesting. They have toured together several times and, on May 3rd, performed a free COC-sponsored concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (Toronto) singing Rachmaninov, De Falla, Ravel, Fauré and the Georgian composer Otar Taktakishvili.

Mrs. Rachvelishvili also has a vibrant passion for jazz it was her first love before moving into opera. She headlines a seven-piece jazz band, made up of Georgian musicians, which travels throughout Europe and recently played at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York. Anita Rachvelishvili is still an outstanding Carmen! This role has a big impact on her: “I love this role. She has made a difference in my life…” says the singer.

2. NINO MACHAIDZE | soprano

Nino-Machaidze_-opera-singers

Nino Machaidze
Photo Source: alchetron.com

Nino Machaidze is particularly charming, fascinating, and unique as Elvira in V. Bellini’s opera, I Puritani (DVD, DECCA edition, issued 11.08.2010, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, conductor  – M. Mariotti). In this production her partner is the remarkable Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez. In Elvira’s role, Mrs. Machaidze’s strong vocal temperament plays her character’s drama, joy, and madness with sincerity and ease. Her medium is colored and sharp, and the accuracy of her bright and shrill notes is impressive.

3. NINO SURGULADZE | mezzo-soprano

Nino Surguladze
Photo Source: timer.ge

The extraordinary mezzo soprano, Nino Surguladze surprises her audiences with the incredible variety of her repertoire. She performs with great success in Italian, French, Russian, and German operas.  Nino Surguladze has also won a special prize at the Geneva Film Festival for the main role in the Georgian movie Valsi Pechoraze (Lana Gogoberidze, 1992). Her charity activity is remarkable and thanks to her – thousands of Georgian children’s lives were saved.

4. Ketevan Kemoklidze | mezzo-soprano

Ketevan Kemoklidze

Photo Source: sagramusicalemalatestiana.it

Ketevan Kemoklidze has been sought after by the greatest theaters in the world for her extraordinary vocal and stage talent. Among all the roles she has performed, Rosina (G.Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia) has been the most remarkable.

“Although I like to hear Rosine sung by sopranos, I much prefer Rosine as a mezzo, first of all, because it suits a Spanish women better because of the low intonation in their voices. Second of all, I just think it suits the character, herself, better. Her personality is much better displayed through a deeper voice. This role requires an athletic vocal technique given the extent of its range… I feel close to her as she preaches about love and freedom. She does not allow anyone to decide her life for her. I like that. Even if Figaro is pulling the strings, I think they are really being manipulated by Rosine.”

5. MIKHEIL SHESHABERIDZE | tenor

opera singers

Mikheil Sheshaberidze
Photo Source: hnk-split.hr

Georgian tenor Mikheil Sheshaberidze is well known among european professionals and opera fans because of the generosity of his rich, powerful voice and his clear phrasing. Mr Sheshaberidze’s biggest dream was to sing one day with Luciano Pavarotti, unfortunately he was unable to after Pavarotti’s passing in 2007. However he was selected among 100 contestants to perform at a concert organized by Pavarotti’s fund. We can only wish him to continue in the same spirit and success as Maestro Pavarotti.

6. GEORGE GAGNIDZE | baritone

George Gagnidze
Photo Credit: Maik Reishaus

George Gagnidze‘s expressive, resonant baritone and insightful, subtle phrasing makes uncommonly relatable portraits of characters on stage. He is both a pathetic and sympathetic Tonio (Paglicci, R. Leoncavallo), an ambiguous and narcissistic Amonasro (Aida, G.Verdi), evil and repulsive Scarpia (Tosca, G.Puccini)… as Rigoletto (Rigoletto, G. Verdi), he expresses all of the hunchback/comic’s mood swings, from his bitter humor toward Monterone to a tender duet with his daughter and his rage at the courtiers who kidnap her.

7. MADINA KARBELI | soprano

Madina Karbeli
Photo Source: youtube.com

The soprano, Madina Karbeli has already charmed the european public with her performances in the operas of Rossini, Mozart, Bellini, Puccini, and Offenbach and will continue to provide other incredible performances with her exceptional stage presence, comely looks, and crystal clear voice which remains steady and sweet-toned even in the highest coloratura passages.