Georgian Theater of Opera and Ballet

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Georgian Theater of Opera and Ballet


(full name, Z. P. Paliashvili Tbilisi Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet), the largest musical theater in the Georgian SSR. Founded in Tbilisi in 1851. Beginning in 1896, performances were held in a new building, the so-called State Theater; the season opened with a production of the opera Ivan Susanin by Glinka. From 1851 to 1880 an Italian opera troupe performed at the theater; a Russian troupe began to appear in 1880. At the turn of the 20th century, the outstanding Georgian and Russian singers who worked at the theater included I. P. Saradzhishvili, A. I. Inashvili. and O. A. Bakhutash-vili-Shul’gina (the founders of the national Georgian school of vocal performance) and V. M. Zarudnaia. L. G. Iakovlev, and D. A. Usatov. The work of M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov, who was the director of the theater from 1884 to 1893, contributed to the development of the theater.

After the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia, the theater became a center of the national musical culture. Operas of Georgian composers, including Abesalom and Eteri (1919) and Daisi (1923) by Z. Paliashvili. the comic opera Keto and Kote by Dolidze (1919). The Tale of Shota Rustaveli by Arakishvili (1919), and Crafty Tamara by M. Balanchivadze (1926), were produced there for the first time. In 1936 the theater presented the first national Georgian ballet, Mzechabuki (Heart of the Mountains) by A. Balanchivadze.

The repertoire of the theater includes the classics of world opera and ballet, as well as the works of Soviet composers. Performances are presented in Georgian and Russian. Among its best productions of the 1950’s and 1960’s were the operas Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky (1950), Bride of the North by Toradze (1958). Mindiia by O. Taktakishvili (1961), The Right Hand of the Great Master by Mshvelidze (1961), Semen Kotko by Prokofev (1964). and Don Pasquale by Donizetti (1968); the children’s operas The Uninvited Guests by Bukiia (1950) and The Red Cap by Gokieli (1958); and the ballets Gorda by Toradze (1949), Othello by Machavariani (1957), The Demon by Tsintsadze (1961), and Cinderella by Prokofev (1966).

Artists who have worked at the theater at various times include the singers D. Ia. Andguladze, D. G. Badridze, D. A. Gamrekeli, B. I. Kraveishvili. N. G. Kumsiashvili, E. T. Sikhadze, and N. A. Tsomaia; the ballet artists I. A. Aleksidze and T. M. Chabukiani: the directors Sh. I. Az-maiparashvili, O. A. Dimitriadi, E. S. Mikeladze, and I. P. Paliashvili; and the producers M. G. Kvaliashvili and A. R. Tsutsunava.

In 1937 the theater was awarded the Order of Lenin and renamed in honor of Z. P. Paliashvili. In 1969 a branch of the theater was opened in Kutaisi.

As of 1971 the theater’s troupe was composed of the singers P. V. Amiranashvili and Z. I. Andzhaparidze (People’s Artists of the USSR); M. P. Amiranashvili, N. D. Andguladze, L. M. Gotsiridze, O. V. Kuznetsova, and T. V. Mushkudiani (People’s Artists of the Georgian SSR); the ballet artists Z. M. Kikaleishvili and V. V. Tsignadze (People’s Artists of the Georgian SSR); chief director V. L. Paliashvili (People’s Artist of the Georgian SSR); chief producer G. V. Zhordania (Honored Artist of the Georgian SSR); chief choreographer V. M. Chabukiani (People’s Artist of the USSR); and artistic director D. S. Mchedlidze (People’s Artist of the Georgian SSR).


Shavgulidze, G. D. Dni i godv Tiflisskogo opernogo teatra. Tbilisi. 1936.
Khuchua, P. Tbilisskii teatr opery ibaleta im. Z. Paliashvili. Tbilisi, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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