Georgia, it appears, is a God-blessed nation. The shimmering solar of the Caucasus, the pristine panorama between valleys, plains and mountains, in addition to a tradition that’s 1000’s of years previous – all of this made Georgia a dream and vacation vacation spot par excellence, even in Soviet instances.
Solely this longing can curdle right into a nightmare if the dream takes place within the head of a dictator. The reality is: the battle for Georgia started way back. Simply fifteen years in the past, Russian tanks have been rolling via the nation, and since then round twenty p.c of Georgia’s nationwide territory has been occupied. At the moment the battle continues extra subtly, within the financial system, in tradition, in literature, theater and movie. Georgia remains to be the bone of rivalry within the Caucasus. The Putin empire doesn’t wish to quit its former Soviet republic and not using a combat – even when 98 p.c of Georgians are in favor of quick accession to the West.
No less than that’s what everybody you discuss to in entrance of the picturesque facades of Rustaveli Boulevard, the place museums, cafés and parliament buildings line up, guarantee you. We meet Sandro Antadze on the roof terrace of the fashionable restaurant “The Republic”. “We’re a weak nation,” mutters the artist, who is understood for his clear language. “We’d don’t have anything to oppose the Russians militarily. They’d eat us for dessert with the dessert spoon. However that doesn’t imply we’re going to surrender.”
Nice cultural traditions
Such a cussed need for freedom is typical of Georgians. Antadze interprets this right into a radical, disturbing picture: a portray of burning Moscow. The flames rise excessive over the Kremlin partitions right into a darkish, sooty Russian sky. Instantly after the outbreak of the struggle in Ukraine, he painted this: “We’ve suffered for therefore lengthy below the Russian occupiers, it’s time for it to cease perpetually.” He even despatched a model of the image to Kiev, to the Volodymyr presidential palace Zelensky. Nonetheless, he doesn’t know whether or not it was hung there. When requested how a lot he needed for the image, he shrugged his shoulders. “If it turns into a actuality tomorrow, you’ll be able to take it at no cost.”
The unusual factor: Anybody who travels to Georgia as a customer feels virtually nothing of the stress. Quite the opposite. Nowhere, it appears, does one really feel safer and higher taken care of than in historically hospitable Georgia. It’s exhausting to think about a extra nice place to journey. Along with its well-known delicacies, Georgia additionally has a full of life literary scene, which could possibly be skilled on the Frankfurt E-book Honest in 2018. There are additionally famend movie and theater festivals.
Advanced political scenario
Nonetheless, darkish clouds have gathered over this scene. The professional-Russian authorities is making life troublesome for writers, cineastes and cultural managers. That is primarily because of the busy, extraordinarily unpopular Minister of Tradition, who takes motion in opposition to well-known figures within the cultural world and curtails civil society wherever doable. The minister with the ax, who was answerable for justice within the earlier cupboard, belongs to the ruling “Georgian Dream” social gathering. Behind it’s the billionaire Ivanschishvili, an oligarch and puppet grasp who made his billions in Moscow within the Nineteen Nineties and doesn’t wish to let his good relations with Putin’s empire be ruined.
What’s at present occurring in Georgian music is all of the extra outstanding. Two hours’ drive from Tblisi, in Kakheti, in the course of Georgia’s finest wine area, the Tsinandale Music Competition is going down for the fifth time. Worldwide soloists carry out right here, however the true star is the orchestra: the Pancaucasian Youth Orchestra. It brings collectively musicians from eight international locations, from Georgia to Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
The orchestra, chosen from the music academies of the respective capitals, has a fiery, worldwide stage. When Schumann’s piano concerto with Yefim Bronfman as soloist rises into the sky in Tsinanadale, in opposition to the backdrop of towering poplars and lime bushes, a special world emerges. The orchestra merges virtually magically with creative director Giannandrea Noseda. On the finish, the cellists increase their devices excessive above their heads and have a good time as in the event that they have been at a pop live performance.
Contacts to Berlin
However the Pancaucasian Youth Orchestra can also be a political mission. It brings collectively individuals from states which might be typically concerned in violent conflicts with each other or have even fought wars, comparable to Azerbaijan and Armenia. In Tsinandale, the violinist from Yerevan sits subsequent to the viola participant from Baku. These artists would in all probability by no means come collectively in every other place. The Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra, whose members are as much as 28 years previous, follows the precept of Daniel Barenboim’s West Japanese Divan Orchestra. Nonetheless, it covers an enormous area extending into Central Asia. And different international locations have registered and want to participate within the subsequent pageant. “We’re the one orchestra on this planet that has continued to play regardless of Covid,” says David Sakvarelidze, the long-time director of the Tblissi Opera Home. The miracle of Tsinandale is essentially because of him.
He was in Berlin a number of instances and developed his personal personal diplomacy. That is how he received the Berlin Philharmonic to play its subsequent European live performance in Tsinandale on Might 1, 2024. And he made contacts within the Bundestag on his personal initiative, with none assist from his authorities. The chairwoman of the cultural committee, Katrin Budde, was additionally at this 12 months’s pageant and was enthusiastic. German-Georgian relations, it’s emphasised from all sides, are essential for the longer term.
Basic music within the vineyards
“We’ve implausible expertise in our area, however in terms of schooling and establishments, the previous Soviet system nonetheless prevails. Georgia wants western constructions, a elementary restructuring, away from Soviet-style authoritarianism and in the direction of the mannequin of studying and instructing that may be noticed in German music faculties,” explains the charismatic theater man within the Radisson Assortment Resort in Tsinandale, the venue for the pageant.
It’s maybe essentially the most lovely lodge within the nation. Vineyards so far as the attention can see, the live performance halls are built-in into the complicated, some arch over the historic wine cellar, the rooms confer with the music and the cultural historical past of the previous nation property, the place Pushkin and Alexandre Dumas drank tea. The constructing, furnished by German designer Ingo Maurer, was constructed parallel to the event of the music pageant. The primary sponsor is the Silk Highway Group of essential investor George Ramishvili, who additionally owns the property.
However: Russian tanks are solely twenty kilometers away, in occupied territory. David Sakvarelidze emphasizes: With each step in the direction of strengthening civil society, with each step in the direction of the West, Georgia is breaking away from Moscow’s uncanny pull. Each step within the empowerment of civil society, the personal sector and impartial artwork can also be a chunk of liberation from Russian stress. And each concert-goer in Tsinandale, each vacationer from Germany who involves Georgia, contributes to creating the nation extra resilient in opposition to a relapse into previous, disastrous constructions.