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Scandal in the State Opera & Ballet Theater

By Ekaterine Tchelidze
Tuesday, January 14
Gianluca Marciano, Tbilisi’s leading theater conductor, announced his possible resignation after the last meeting with the theater troupe and artistic director, Giorgi Zhordania on January 12. According to the theatre staff, poor working atmosphere influenced Marciano’s decision to resign.

Marciano has presented his conditions based on the interest of the theater, to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. According to him, if they are not considered and satisfied, he will confirm his resignation. Until then, all the scheduled activities before the premier will be cancelled.

Misunderstanding in the Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Theater occurred because of the disagreement between the troupe and its artistic director Giorgi Zhordania. According to the performers, Zhordania, who has been directing the troupe for a year, eventually led the theatre to destruction. They claim that he did not fulfill any of his promises, including sufficient working conditions, international tours and invitation of professional musicians to the troupe. This led the theater to bankruptcy, performers said. As a result, members of the creative troupe demand Zhordania to resign.

According to Zhordania’s opponents, Gianluca Marciano is eager to become the next artistic director of the troupe. Even though this information has not been confirmed yet, it seems reasonable to the troupe members. They believe that the structure of the theater should be changed, allowing them to elect their supervisors. Performers demand the right to choose a new artistic director and chief conductor and are not planning to participate in any rehearsals before the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection considers their concerns. The troupe voiced its complaints to the theater Director Gogi Kiladze during the meeting, which lasted for a couple of hours on January 12. According to Marciano, the meeting did not yeild any results.

“There will be no repetitions until Giorgi Zhordania resigns. An unprofessional person should not be directing a troupe,” Zaal Khelaia, the soloist, said.

The performers’ opinions about Zhordania’s professionalism significantly vary. While the majority demands his immediate resignation, Khatuna Chohonelidze, the leading soloist, is among his few opponents, claiming that “he is a good person and a professional director.”

The staff of the Opera & Ballet Theatre met with the Minister Guram Odisharia on January 13, demanding the resignation of Zhordania. According to soloist Gocha Batusani, the meeting was successful. All the attendees had a chance to listen to complaints from the troupe members and agreed that the issue had to end soon. The last meeting will be conducted on January 14 in order to figure out how the theater will operate without Zhordania’s supervision.

However, it is not known whether Marciano agrees to be an artistic director until his replacement is appointed or a temporary director will be assigned instead. The troupe has stated that nobody will continue rehearsals if the problem is not solved.

Zhordania did not comment to the media yet.