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Georgia: The Fur and the Fury at Tbilisi’s Opera

The Tbilisi opera house's January 30, 2016 opening

This past weekend’s reopening of Tbilisi’s neo-Moorish opera house after a six-year intermission ranks as Georgia’s cultural event of the year, but it also has provided a stage for a dispute over whether the country is reviving the elitism of the Soviet past.

Grand opera events may be a preserve for the rich and powerful elsewhere in the world, but in Georgia, where fascination with the opera long has cut across class lines, many were expecting a national celebration open to anyone who bought a ticket. It was not to be.

Though a state-run facility, the theater’s January 30 red-carpet opening was invitation-only.


Decked out in their finest threads — most notably, fur coats — the carefully selected invitees featured “le tout Tbilisi" -- senior government officials, Georgian Orthodox Church dignitaries and business leaders.

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Georgia: The Fur and the Fury at Tbilisi’s Opera

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