A 130-year-old opera house in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, reopens after an overhaul that took six years and cost $40 million. Diane Hodges reports.
Georgian opera house hears sounds of music once again
With some lights, makeup and action, the opera house in Tbilisi, Georgia is open for business again.
Excited music fans are flocking to the opening performances.
(SOUND BITE) (Georgian) SPECTATOR, KETEVAN IGNATOVA, SAYING:
“We’ve been waiting for it for a long time, waiting for the opening of the opera house after a major overhaul. I want to congratulate all of Georgia because I think it is a reason to celebrate.”
The first opera house was built in 1851, but destroyed by fire. The current building was constructed in 1896.
It was felled by financial difficulties after the fall of the Soviet Union.
But in 2009, Georgia’s former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, (bihd-ZEE-nah ee-vahn-eesh-VEE-lee) who is also the country’s richest man stepped in to revive it.
The $40 million dollar overhaul brought in modern sound and lighting systems, according to Artistic Director David Kintsurashvili.
(SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF TBILISI OPERA, DAVID KINTSURASHVILI, SAYING:
“A lot of work has been done here in the past six years. Everything from the foundation to the roof has been changed. It was a large amount of work.”
Fans and performers alike hope the performances are not a swan song for the historic building, but instead the beginning of a very long engagement.