The Mikhailovsky Theatre has announced that on 1 July, Paata Burchuladze will take up the post of Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre’s opera company. Musical Director and Principal Conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov will introduce him to the opera company on 18 April.
As well as Opera Director at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Paata will continue to perform as a vocalist, taking on a role akin to that of ‘player-coach’ in the world of sport. In September, he will play the part of Don Basilio in Éric Vigié’s production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Born in 1955, Paata completed his music school studies as a pianist, then went on to combine classes at the vocal faculty of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire with studies at the Tbilisi Polytechnic Institute. He undertook an internship at the Odessa Conservatoire, and continued his professional education at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan under Giulietta Simionato. In 1982 he was winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. This success would launch an outstanding international career.
Following an audition at Covent Garden in 1984, he was offered a contract for the part of Ramfis in the premiere of Aida under the direction of Zubin Mehta, where he was partnered by Katia Ricciarelli and Luciano Pavarotti. This was to be the beginning of a lasting friendship between Paata Burchuladze and Luciano Pavarotti, who performed together on a number of occasions. The gifted young opera singer from the USSR then came to the attention of the great conductor Herbert von Karajan, who invited Burchuladze to an audition in Salzburg. It was under Karajan that he sang the part of Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival. The conductor has compared Burchuladze’s bass to that of Chaliapin.
Following the announcement, Paata talked to Izvestia about why he took the post, working with Karajan and Pavarotti, and plans for an Academy of Young Singers. Read here [in Russian].