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Sunday, 23 October 2016


Sakartvelo: marred cultural reputation

2010-09-29 19:40

8201.jpegGeorgian Ministry of Culture failed to provide money for the concert of the New-York Philharmonic Orchestra. The tour was cancelled at the last moment, which stirred the anger of the company's leader. Georgians saved two million dollars, while American musicians suffered many-thousand losses. Neither did Washington make any efforts to allow Georgian audiophiles to listen to classic music performed by the legendary company.


The Georgian-American harmony was broken by cultural dissonance. The New York Times American quality newspaper published a crushing article called "Georgia's non-fulfillment of obligations hit the orchestra".

The agreement on the New-York Philharmonic Orchestra's tour was defeated because of the Georgian government's enormous ambitions and scanty capabilities.

According to the excuses made by Tbilisi officials, two concerts would cost too much, that is, two million dollars including the travel and hotel expenses. "The orchestra demanded two charter flights, one for the instruments and another for the orchestra members. They also demanded foreign stage and equipment specialists for the concerts planned to be held in Tbilisi and Batumi... That was beyond what we can provide", - explained director of the International Programs and Georgian Culture Popularization Department of Ministry of Culture Manana Muskhelishvili.

These are truly excessive costs for Georgia, for the annual budget of Ministry of Culture totals just 30 million dollars, or 55 million laris. 

What was the government hoping for when it invited the world stars? Did it reckon upon a charitable action? In all appearances, it did, especially that the fees to which the musicians agreed were unbelievably lowered - 115 thousand dollars per concert. The rest of the costs included charter flights from Munich to Tbilisi and hotel expenses. Well, how much does a hotel cost in a country that is developing tourism if the total expenses amounted to two million dollars?

Less then a month before the concert, executive director of the orchestra Zarin Mehta received a letter of apology from Georgian Deputy Minister David Tskhadadze saying that they understand that the cancellation of the tour would entail inconvenience on the musicians but unfortunately, further realization of the project was beyond their capabilities.

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