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Georgian Mezzo Soprano continues amazing the world

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, March 12
Mezzo-soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze is in high demand by major theatres of the world for her extraordinary vocal and stage skills. After graduating from Tbilisi State Conservatoire, she received an award at the Belvedere competition– she was admitted to the Accademia of Teatro alla Scala without an entrance exam.

Winner of prestigious international voice competitions including Domingo’s Operalia, the Concourse International de Chant de la Ville de Toulouse, the F. Vinas Competition of Barcelona, the H.G. Belvedere International Competition in Vienna, the E. Obraztsova International Vocal Competition in Saint-Petersburg and the Georgian Musicians National and Youth Competitions, Kemoklidze started her career as a student in 2002.

It was in 2002 when Kemoklidze received Magdalena’s part in opera Rigoletto, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi on the stage of the opera studio in the conservatoire. Ten years later, she again performed Magdalena’s part but this time on the stage of Teatro alla Scala. “The place of dreams for all the singers,” she said, calling alla Scala “one of the most high-ranked theatres in the world.”

Belgian Gilbert Deflo staged Rigoletto in a “traditional” way. “It was a great responsibility to wear the costumes of famous singers who have performed in this play.

“The happiest moment for me was the fact that the two Georgians were standing at La Scala stage,” she said, explaining that Georgian baritone Giorgi Gagnidze performed Rigoletto with her.

Kemoklidze said public accepted the play with great tender. The play ended with great applause but Georgian mezzo-soprano was warmly met even after the performance asking for autographs.

“The audience of La Scala is quite strict, but I grew in front of them on their “demands” as I studied at La Scala academy for two years and have performed in six productions of the theatre,” Kemoklidze said adding this is the stage which opened her the door to the other theatres worldwide proving her fine singing and promising quality at many of the world's major opera houses including England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece…

Kemoklidze made her outstanding film debut as Adriana Ferrarese (Donna Elvira) in the famous Spanish film director Carlos Saura’s film Io, Don Giovanni, having won an award at various International Film Festivals. Her discography includes Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Romeo et Juliette, Thais, Otello, A Midsummer's Night Dream and Salome.

Kemoklidze has performed at almost every world theatre. She transformed into a male at Covent Garden and even trained in fencing at Shakespare’s Globus Theatre. “It is an amazing feeling to receive applause at the royal theatre,” Kemoklidze recollects. People with poor sense of hearing and Georgians living in London also attended Georgian mezzo-soprano’s important debut.

In 2012, Kemoklidze closed the season at Barcelona, but only temporarily. She was pregnant with her first child. The mezzo-soprano played the role of a male at Linda and Chamounix on her 8th month of pregnancy with great success.

“I love the stage of Liceu very much. Later, I had a debut performance with Lado Ataneli when I was still a student,” she said, adding that it is always a great pleasure to be in a beautiful country like Italy.”

Her busy schedule and motherhood does not often let her visit her homeland. However, Kemoklidze paid a visit to Georgia twice in December 2012 and performed for the 35th anniversary of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II as well as with the students of her tutor, met with the Italian conductor of Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Gianluca Marciano and also performed at the 85th anniversary of the late Georgian Maestro Nodar Andguladze. “I am happy to see the applause of Georgian audience and feel their love,” Kemoklidze said.

As for her future plans, several beautiful countries are waiting for Keti. "I am leaving to Los Angeles at the request of Placido Domingo, where I will perform Cinderella according to Rossini's play. It will be my debut in this role and I am very happy to meet Georgian pianists Nino and Tamar Sanikidze while working on this play. It is a matter of great pride that she is one of the leading piano players of Los Angeles," Keti told The Messenger adding that her US trip will follow with a Gala Concert at Bonn Theatre dedicated to HIV infected people. She says sometimes millions of Euros are gathered through such events.