Mikheil (Misha) Sheshaberidze is a world-famous young Georgian tenor. Recently, he took the lead roles at the Arena di Verona in Verdi’s two major operas, ‘Nabucco’ and ‘Aida’, as well as in Puccini’s ‘Tosca’. After Italy, he departed for Greece where, in Corfu, at the Dionysia Opera Festival, he took part in ‘Aida’ and ‘Carmen’. His debut on the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater stage will take place on October 7 after which, he’ll be heading to Estonia, Romania and Italy where he’ll perform in Aida, Tosca and La Fanciulla del West. Meet him below.
Foreign audiences knows you much better than the Georgian one. How did it happen?
I have lived in Italy for 12 years, that’s why.
What are your emotions before your debut in your birth country?
They’re so huge that words are almost powerless and not enough to express them. I think it’s the greatest joy to step before your native audience and offer them the production that you've been offering abroad for years.
You graduated the traditional Georgian vocal school with vocal teacher Guliko Kariauli and later attended numerous master classes abroad. How important is it for a singer to graduate different vocal schools?
I only studied here for four years and was 21 when I left for Italy. At such an early age, a male singer cannot say that he is an established vocalist here. Therefore, I would say that my whole professional growth is connected with Italy. Of course, I’m really grateful to Guliko Kariauli who made me fall in love with this profession. As for different schools, I believe that there is only one school for an opera singer: an Italian school.
Tell us about your debut on the Arena Di Verona stage?
It took place in 2016. It was in ‘Aida’. Within 5 days, I had two debuts, the second in ‘Carmen’.
You have taken part in numerous performances of ‘Carmen’. Which Don Jose is special for you?
‘Carmen’ has brought a lot of success for me. This is a performance that helped me meet more Georgians than elsewhere. In Italy, I met Giorgi Andghuladze. In Bulgaria, I sang with Anita Rachvelishvili. As for Don Jose, I would say that he is close to me from a vocal point of view rather than personally. I’m not that pitiable [laughs]. Radames is much closer to me. As for ‘Carmen,’ I’ve participated in five different performances. Levan Tsuladze’s staging of ‘Carmen’ will be my first Georgian performance.
What are your plans for the future?
There are some that I can’t talk about yet, as they are in the process of negotiation. From here, I’m flying to Milan and then to Estonia. There, I’ll play in two ‘Aida’s. From Estonia, I’m going to Romania, where I’ll sing ‘Tosca’. On November 4, I leave for Lucca, Livorno, Pisa, Ravenna, and Modena, for my debut in the role of Dick Johnson in the La Fanciulla del West. It’s a splendid joint performance of Cagliari Theatro Lirico, the New York City Opera (USA), Teatro del Giglio di Lucca, and Opera Carolina di Charlotte (USA). Then, I will sing ‘Aida’ at Astana Opera Theater. Next year, I’ll be back at the Arena Di Verona.