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Cover Picture © Credits to Philip_Willcocks

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Tbilisi Opera – one of the oldest in Eastern Europe

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In this article, I would like to tell you about the Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi whose history is 167 years long. The opera house is located on the Rustaveli Avenue, and it is one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. It makes the cultural life of Tbilisi more interesting and diverse.

History of Opera House

The construction of the first Opera House started in 1847 with a help of an Italian architect, Giovanni Scudieri. Formerly known as the Tiflis Imperial Theater, it started functioning in 1851. In the same year, a grand ball party was organized to celebrate the opening ceremony of the Opera House. It was a real celebration for the whole city. At that time, a famous French writer Alexandre Dumas was traveling around Georgia, and he also took part in the celebration. He described this event in his book “Caucasus”: “I can say without hesitation that I have never seen a greater and more attractive hall than Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater.”

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Unfortunately, the building of the Tbilisi Opera was destroyed by the fire, and the opera troupe moved to another place for 22 years. The fire also partially harmed the new building of the Opera House but it was restored under the Soviet governance. The reconstructions of the new Opera House finished in 1896. The building itself looks authentic, designed by a Russian architect Victor Schröter, and it can hold up to 1200 spectators. The theater is built in a Moorish style, and it immediately captures the visitor’s attention. Everyone will fall in love with its decorations and style. The building’s layout, main hall, and foyers will make you compare it with a typical European Opera House.

The Georgian National Opera has developed gradually thanks to the famous composers such as Zacharia Paliashvili, Victor Dolidze, etc. Apart from this, many opera and ballet troupes have visited Tbilisi Opera Theater: Italian Opera, Vienna Imperial Operetta, comic operas of Moscow and St. Petersburg and many others. The Georgian Ballet was founded by a Georgian composer Andria Balanchivadze.

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Tbilisi Opera House today

Nowadays, the theater is named after Zacharia Paliashvili and each theatric season traditionally is opened with his famous opera “Abesalom da Eteri.” The Tbilisi Opera House is proud of its talented singers, as they keep the tradition of the opera school. Several years ago, the Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater was renewed, and since 2016, it offers more interesting and exciting performances to its visitors.

While visiting Tbilisi, do not miss the Tbilisi Opera House, if you are an opera lover or if you just want to see this side of Georgian culture. You can buy tickets in advance online and choose the desired performances. You will enjoy visiting this historical building that is one of the oldest Opera Houses in Eastern Europe.

Georgian National Opera Theater
Georgian National Opera Theater
25 Shota Rustaveli Ave, T'bilisi 0108, Georgia

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The author

Anano Chikhradze

Anano Chikhradze

I am Anano. I Iove travelling, history and getting to know people from all over the world. I write about Georgia, my country, and I am sure everybody will fall in love with it.

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