Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze Opera and Ballet Professional State Theater

The Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze Opera and Ballet Professional State Theatre, or just the Kutaisi Opera Theatre, is a place with a fascinating history. Constructed at the end of the 19th century, it has played host to countless performances across its troubled lifetime, and is worth a visit for both patrons of the arts and lovers of architecture.

The Kutaisi Opera Theatre’s story begins in 1861, when Georgian public figures, Kirile Lortkipanidze, Dimitri Bakradze, and Akaki Tsereteli began to organise theatrical performances in the city. In 1880, a permanent theatre troupe was established under the leadership of distinguished Georgian actor Kote Meshki, and took up residence in a building constructed by Georgian patron of the arts Stephane Kharazishvili. 

The original theatre burned down in 1946, and was reconstructed in the 1970s as a 453-seat opera theater. The current incarnation features one wall - the one facing Rustaveli Street - from the original structure, allowing it to live on and be appreciated by a new generation of Georgian theatre enthusiasts. 

The modern Kutaisi Opera Theater was ceremonially opened on December 27th, 1969 with Zakaria Paliashvili’s famous opera Abesalom and Eteri.

In 2010, the Kutaisi Opera Theater experienced another transformation when its interiors were renewed, and its exteriors, columns, and a new entrance were built. Thirteen Roman figures crafted by Kutaisi native sculptor Giorgi Kikvadze were also placed upon the roof.

Today, the Kutaisi Opera Theater proudly bears the name of celebrated Georgian composer, Meliton Balanchivadze. 

Whether you visit to soak in the theatre’s beauty or you’re lucky enough to attend a performance, you’ll be left moved by the enduring legacy of the Kutaisi Opera Theatre. 

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