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Controversy in Kutaisi Opera Theatre


Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

Argument between the employees of the Kutaisi Balanchivadze Opera and Ballet State Theatre turned into conflict. The reason of the disagreement was position of the art director, which became vacant after director Gogi Tchitchinadze left.

Culture Ministry announced competition for the vacant position in February 2015 and Choirmaster of the Theatre Irina Lominadze applied for it together with three more people. According to the spread information, this fact became reason of the conflict between the two groups in the theatre.

“Incorrect information was disseminated in the society and media sources also supported this fact. They reported orchestra member Natela Chankseliani was physically abused for what she was placed in clinic. Neither Irina Lominadze nor others did it. Just the opposite, Natela Chankseliani was scolding us all the time and continues the same now,” the employees of the Opera said.

Head of public relation unit at the Kutaisi Opera Theatre also denied the information about physical controversy. 

“There was no physical controversy between employees. Natela Chankseliani got nervous during the meeting and felt bad for what she was taken to the clinic. However, media sources incorrectly interpreted this fact,” said Akaki Andguladze, head of PR unit at the Opera.

Humanrights.ge contacted the medical personnel of the Kutaisi medical clinic LG. Doctor on duty Magda Gigineishvili clarified: “On March 23, Natela Chankseliani was brought to the clinic with high artery pressure and she did not have any physical injuries at all. After relevant medical service, she left clinic.”

Last week Culture Minister met employees of the Kutaisi Opera Theatre and heard their positions about ongoing processes. According to the personnel, reason of their conflict became meeting with the Minister Mikheil Giorgadze.

“During the meeting, Natela Chankseliani told Mr. Giorgadze that Lominadze started and finished every meeting with scolding. Then she insulted other employees too. It is natural that the employees reprimanded Chankseliani for having said similar things with the minister and she felt bad. Media was mobilized near the opera house at that moment. So, it is fact that she had previously staged this scenario,” theatre employee Tamta Gabunia told humanrights.ge.

Employees of the Kutaisi Opera Theater said Natela Chankseliani supports Lasha Nikabadze, rival of Irina Lominadze, in the vacancy competition. Khatia Vedmedeva, former director of the Kutaisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre, also supports Nikabadze. 

As for Irina Lominadze, who is choirmaster of the theatre, has already gained support of 11 members of the 12-member board and she is the most realistic candidate among four applicants. 

Reportedly, the Minister of Culture will make decision about the art director of Kutaisi Balanchivadze Opera and Ballet Theatre in near future. 
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