Opened in 1896, the Tbilisi Opera House quickly played host to some of the world’s most famous opera and ballet troupes, including the Italian Opera, the Vienna Court Opera, the Moscow and St. Petersburg Comic Operas, and the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet.
The first Georgian opera was performed here in 1918, while the first Georgian classical ballet was staged by the great modernist dancer Vakhtang Chabukiani, in 1936.
An outstanding piece of architecture, the Tbilisi Opera House is decorated with colourful stained-glass windows, ceiling and wall decorations, mirrored halls, and a unique central chandelier. The chandelier is one of the most grandiose in Europe, with Haupt and Swarovski crystals and 600 light bulbs!
Since 1937, the opera house has been known officially as the Zakaria Paliashvili State Opera & Ballet Theatre, named after the great Georgian composer whose exceptional opera Abesalom and Eteri, still opens the season every year.