Abesalom and Eteri

by zacharia Paliashvili

First “Original” Georgian

The Georgian opera Abesalom and Eteri by composer Zacharia Paliashvili (1871-1933) premiered in 1919, the year after Georgia reestablished independence from the Russian Empire. This opera was a culmination of a multidisciplinary movement for maintaining national identity which has always been closely attached to and influenced by Georgian musical culture. The threat of losing national identity under the Russian occupation accelerated the professionalization of Georgian music. This research draws upon political and historical context, the composer’s archival materials in Georgian, and the opera’s music and lyrics to explore the composition as a bridge between different musical cultures and historical episodes.