Officials in Georgia harbor ambitions of turning the South Caucasus country into a global cultural center, but those plans took a big hit when a deal to bring the New York Philharmonic to Tbilisi imploded recently. Now, Georgian officials are scrambling to repair the damage done to the country’s image.
The concerts, which were scheduled for October 21-22 in Tbilisi and Batumi, were supposed to celebrate the country’s emergence as a destination for international orchestras and musical acts. Instead, the last-minute collapse of the deal highlighted the emerging democracy’s limited financial resources and inexperience.
Officials at the Georgian Ministry of Culture sounded contrite and chastened when discussing the cancelled concerts, describing the whole affair as an “unfortunate” disappointment.
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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi.