On This Day: Celebrating Hibla Gerzmava’s Birthday With 5 Career Highlights

By Francisco Salazar
On Jan.6 Hibla Germava will celebrate her 46th birthday with a special day off. The soprano made to sure to make it clear on her calendar that it was her birthday and that she would not be singing. In celebration of Germava’s birthday, Operawire takes a look at some of the achievements thus far in her career.
1994 First Prize 
In this year Gerzmava competed in the Tchaikovsky International Competition, Russia’s most important competition and one of the most prestigious in the world. The competition, which is held every four years, has been won by numerous opera singers including Deborah Voigt and Paata Burchuladze. After a difficult competition Gerzmava went home with the first prize and also won the Grand Prix award that year.
Covent Garden – March 2008
One of Gerzmava’s most important debuts came in 2008 at the Royal Opera House in London. The soprano sang the role of Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.”  She starred alongside a cast that included Gerald Finley, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Hans-Peter König and Piotr Beczala. The Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek was in the pit. Critics were ecstatic about the soprano stating that she was “warmly expressive in the Letter Scene and full-voiced and tonally steady throughout.” The role would become a calling card for her in many theaters around the world.
 The Golden Mask
Renown for her work in dramatic and lyric repertoire, Gerzmava surprised audiences with her performance as Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Her fascinating coloratura and radiant high notes won her the 2010 Golden Mask award in Russia. For most international audiences this award is not recognized. However, the Golden Mask is the highest Russian theatrical award.
2014 – Closing Ceremony at Sochi Olympics
While most remember that Anna Netrebko performed the opening ceremony of the Olympics, Gerzmava actually closed the event. The soprano sang on top of a floating boat dressed in a white gown and was accompanied by a chorus of children. The performance garnered riveting applause from the audience. Previous opera singers to have the honor of closing the Olympics in recent history include Maria Guleghina and Ben Heppner.

Met Opera debut 2010 
Perhaps one of the most significant debuts came in 2010 at the Metropolitan Opera in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffman.” The soprano sang the roles of Antonia and Stella and won rave reviews. Allan Kozinn of the NY Times wrote, “Ms. Gerzmava made the most of Antonia’s wrenchingly beautiful ‘Elle a fui, la tourterelle.’” Critics also noted that she stole the show. The debut was significant as she became a fixture at the Met and has gone on to sing two HD productions with the company.


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