|Occupation||Operatic singer, politician|
|Years active||1976 – present|
Paata Burchuladze (Georgian: პაატა ბურჭულაძე) (born 12 February 1955) is a Georgian operatic bass and civil activist. After his debut in his native Tbilisi in 1976, he embarked on a 35-year-long musical career during which he made appearances at leading opera houses across Europe and the United States. Through his foundation, he became involved in children charity in Georgia in 2004. From May to December 2016, Burchuladze briefly entered politics of Georgia, founding the political party State for the People to challenge the incumbent Georgian Dream coalition government in the scheduled October 2016 parliamentary election, in which the party failed to win any seat in the legislature. Since July 2017, Burchuladze has been leading the opera division of Moscow's Mikhailovsky Theatre, one of Russia's oldest opera and ballet houses.
Born in Tbilisi, the capital of then-Soviet Georgia, he graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and continued his studies at the Bolshoi school. He made a student debut in Tbilisi in 1976 and then took part in several singing competitions, including at the Bolshoi in Moscow, where he sang in Boris Godunov. Early in his career, Burchuladze sang Leporello (Don Giovanni), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), and King Rene (Iolanta) for the Tbilisi Opera House. Burchuladze was further trained in Milan from 1978 to 1981 and sang Banquo, Pagano (I Lombardi), Walter (Luisa Miller) and Zaccaria (Nabucco) at La Scala.
During his career, which spanned more than three decades, Burchuladze made appearances across the world's leading opera houses. He debuted at the Covent Garden in 1984 as Ramfis (Aida) and then appeared as Don Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Khan Konchak (Prince Igor), Boris Godunov, and the Inquisitor (Fiery Angel). His United States debut was at Philadelphia, in 1987, as Boris. He also sang Basilio, Boris, and the Commendatore (Don Giovanni) at the Metropolitan. His other notable roles are Silva (Ernani), Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Philip II, Boito's Mefistofele, and Dosifey (Khovanshchina). He also made several recordings.
According to the musicologist Elizabeth Forbes, Burchuladze's "magnificent dark-toned voice and imposing stature are ideal for both the Russian repertory and Giuseppe Verdi's bass roles". He has also been described by classical music critics as acting "sly, gravelly", being "imposing", and "wonderfully menacing". Burchuladze announced he was leaving music to focus on his new political role in May 2016.
Charity work and civil activities
Burchuladze set up the charity foundation Iavnana in January 2004 and through it organized dozens of concerts and events to support vulnerable children and families in Georgia. He was the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 2006 and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Georgia in 2010.
In November 2015, Burchuladze established the Georgian Development Foundation, a civic movement, which was expected to turn into a political party ahead of the scheduled October 2016 parliamentary election. Burchuladze emphasized that his new organization was not a political party and described it as a pro-democracy and pro-Western advocacy group. He set up offices in Washington and Los Angeles with the declared aim to raise awareness of Georgia in the United States, whose help, according to Burchuladze, was essential in reducing threats coming from Russia.
A March 2016 opinion poll commissioned by the International Republican Institute showed Burchuladze's Georgian Development Foundation as being not too far behind from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the main opposition United National Movement, garnering 12%, 19%, and 18%, respectively. On 12 May 2016, Burchuladze announced the foundation of a new political organization, State for the People, and his intention to take part in the upcoming parliamentary election. Two months after the party's failure in the election, in December 2016, Burchuladze announced his withdrawal from politics and return to opera. In July 2017, Burchuladze became the director of the opera division of the Moscow-based Mikhailovsky Theater, one of Russia's oldest opera and ballet houses.
- People's Artist – Georgia, 1985
- Shota Rustaveli State Prize – Georgia, 1991
- Order of Honor – Georgia, 1997, 2003
- Kammersänger – Staatsoper Stuttgart, 1998
- Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi – Tbilisi City Hall, 2001
- Presidential Order of Excellence – Georgia, 2010
- Order of the Star of Italy – Italy, 2010
- Golden Order of St. George – Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church, 2010
- Cross of Honour for Science and Art 1st Class – Austria, 2014
- Forbes, Elizabeth (2008). "Burchuladze, Paata". In Macy, Laura Williams. The Grove Book of Opera Singers. Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0195337654.
- "Biography". Paata Burchuladze official website. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Bagnoli, Giorgio (1993). The La Scala Encyclopedia of the Opera. Simon and Schuster. p. 58. ISBN 0671870424.
- Ahmed, Akbar Shahid (25 April 2016). "This Former Opera Star Thinks His Country Will Be Russia's Next Ukraine". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "I was side by side with everyone – be it Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze, Saakashvili or Ivanishvili, Paata Burchuladze". InterPressNews. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Paata Burchuladze officially named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Georgia". The Messenger. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Opera Singer and His Potential Political Party in IRI-Commissioned Poll". Civil Georgia. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- "Operatic Bass Launches Political Party". Civil Georgia. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Burchuladze Quits Politics". Civil Georgia. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Onorificenze - Dettaglio del conferimento". www.quirinale.it (in Italian). Segretariato generale della Presidenza della Repubblica. Retrieved 12 May 2016.