The messenger logo

Zurab Sotkilava dies at 80

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 19
A well-known Georgian opera singer, Zurab Sotkilava, has died at the age of 80 in Moscow.

The relatives of the singer have stated that the body will be transferred in Georgia in a few days.

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, sent condolences to the family of Sotkilava.

“I would like to express my great sorrow over the death of the world class opera singer and artist Zurab Sotkilava. He was a loyal child of Georgia. I am sending my condolences to his family and relatives,” the letter of condolences of the PM reads.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili also expressed his sorrow over the death of the world-famous Georgian opera tenor.

“Together with the Georgian people, I want to honor the memory of a person whose productive, creative and pedagogic activities contributed to the popularization of opera art in Georgia, at the same time representing Georgian music around the world,” the statement reads.

Sotkilava, a People's Artist of the USSR recipient, was born in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia in 1937.

In 1965 he graduated from the Tbilisi Conservatory, and from 1965 to 1974 was a soloist of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Zakaria Paliashvili.

From 1966 to 1968 he was a student at La Scala, where his teacher was Dinaro Barra, and following that became a teacher at the Moscow Conservatory where he remained until 1988.

Six years later, Zurab Sotkilava became chairman of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and was a member of the Bologna Academy of Music, at which he became known for his singing of Giuseppe Verdi's works.

By 2000, he became Kinoshok chairman of Anapa Film Festival which was hosted throughout the CIS and Baltic States.

In July 2015, Zurab Sotkilava was taken seriously ill with cancer. Doctors diagnosed his condition as a malignant tumor of the pancreas. After an operation in Germany and a course of treatment in Russia, the singer returned to his creative activities. His first concert after his recovery took place on 25 October 2015 in SergievPosad.

The singer’s health condition sharply deteriorated this year and he died on September 18.