Balanchivadze Meliton

M. Balanchivadze

Balanchivadze Meliton (1862–1937), Composer, founder of Georgian opera music. He was the father of outstanding American choreographer George Balanchine and Georgian composer Andria Balanchivadze. He was born in Banoja village, Georgia. In 1889-1895 he studied at the Petersburg Conservatoire, where initially he attended the classes of vocal (Prof. V. Samus), and later – the classes of composition (N. RimskyKorsakov). For 28 years M. Balanchivadze lived and worked in Russia, where he promoted Georgian musical art. In 1895- 1917, in the cities of Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries he hosted the evenings of Georgian music, where he performed as a choir conductor and singer. In Petersburg he wrote the first Georgian opera Tamar The Wicked (based on A. Tsereteli’s poem Tamar The Wicked; libretto by V. Velichko). In 1897 the fragments of the opera were acted out by Russian singers in the hall of Petersburg’s Assembly of the Nobles. The opera was staged at the Theater of Opera and Ballet of Tbilisi in 1926. In 1937, M. Balanchivadze’s opera under the changed title of Darejan The Wicked, was performed within the framework of the Decade of Georgian Art in Moscow. In 1906 M. Balanchivadze participated in the Georgianlanguage production of Demon, an opera by A. Rubinshtein. In 1907 he financed the publication of M. Glinka’s letters (St. Petersburg, 1908). In 1917 he returned to Georgia.

M. Balanchivadze died in Kutaisi and was buried in the churchyard of Bagrati Temple.