HIBLA GERZMAVA is one of the most sought-after singers on the world opera stage. Brilliant and genuine, emotional and passionate, she performs only the leading female roles in the most famous operas. She brilliantly interprets the characters of her heroines, not only guided by a director but also following her own intuition. Her name on the poster is a certain guarantee for a sold-out for a show anywhere on the globe. She received applause at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s La Scala, the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky Theatres. She is adored by her fans throughout the world. Hibla Gerzmava shines in the most difficult operatic roles, and she is crowned with the most honorary awards and titles like People’s Artist of Russia and of the Republic of Abkhazia. Hibla Gerzmava is the only winner of the Grand-Prix at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994. She is a multiple winner of the Golden Mask National Theatre Award and recipient of the State Prize of the Russian Federation for her contribution to the development of Russian and world art.
Hibla Gerzmava’s creative biography is rich in significant, historic events. In 2001, she created the festival “Hibla Gerzmava Invites…” in her homeland Abkhazia. Since 2014, the festival has expanded its borders and has been held in Moscow in the Great Hall of the Conservatory and on the stage of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre, in Vienna in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, at Carnegie Hall in New York, and in St. Moritz, Switzerland. In February 2014, Hibla took part in the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, performing the Final Song “Olympic Waltz”. In 2022 she became the President of the Onegin National Opera Award. The year 2022 is a time of transformation in the artist’s life as she enters a new phase of her artistic journey. On June 2, 2022, she announced the launch of the Hibla Gerzmava International Vocalist and Accompanist Competition, to be held at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre.
Hibla inherited her artistry and powerful energy from the blessed land on the Black Sea coast where she was born and grew up. She was born on January 6, in Pitsunda. In subtropical Gagra, Hibla attended music school and continued her musical education at Sukhumi music school as a pianist, with no thoughts of pursuing a singing career. Her piano teacher was able to spot her singing talent and took Hibla to Josephine Bumburidi’s vocal class. In 1989 her voice already rang out at the entrance examinations to the Moscow Conservatory, where she had Irina Ivanovna Maslennikova and Evgenia Mikhailovna Arefieva as her teachers. Today her professional background of a pianist helps the singer to understand the score in greater depth and to perform each part more expressively, both with orchestra and in duet with the piano, as she makes her keen sense of the intonation of the instruments and skillful use of these features to amplify the effect that her colourful soprano exerts on the listener. Hibla Gerzmava successfully graduated from the Vocal Department of the Moscow State Conservatory in 1994, and in 1996 she completed her post-graduate course at the Moscow Conservatory, class of Professor Maslennikova.
International competitions have played a special role in Hibla Gerzmava’s career. While still a student at the Moscow Conservatory, Hibla won several key vocal competitions:
Since joining MAMT in 1995, Hibla Gerzmava has been the opera company’s brightest star, thanks to her rapport and fruitful artistic alliance with the theatre’s director Alexander Titel. The singer’s strong and clear voice and dramatic talent have created the Musical Theatre’s unrivalled portrayals of Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Adina in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Musetta and Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, Louise in Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery, Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Lyudmila in Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, Princess Swan in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan and, of course, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. In 2001 Hibla Gerzmava received the Golden Orpheus Theatre Award for “Best Singer of the Year”. In 2002–2004 the singer toured with the MAMT company to the USA and South Korea, and also took part in the German Ludwigsburg Festival, performing the roles of Eva (Haydn’s The Creation) and the Guardian Angel (Cavalieri’s The Representation of Soul and Body). In 2010, Hibla Gerzmava received the Golden Mask Russian National Theatre Award and Casta Diva Award for her stunning performance of Lucia in the Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as the city of Moscow Prize in Literature and the Arts. In 2011 Hibla performed all three roles (an enormous feat of operatic artistry, accessible only to true international opera stars!) – Olympia, Juliet and Antonia – in Offenbach’s Les contes d'Hoffmann at her home theatre. In 2011, Hibla won the first independent Triumph Award for Excellence in Literature and the Arts. In 2016 she was again awarded the national Golden Mask for Best Actress for her part in Luigi Cherubini’s Medea. In Andrei Konchalovsky’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Otello on the MAMT stage she performed the part of Desdemona (2019). In February 2022 Hibla Gerzmava made her debut at her home theatre as Tosca in Puccini’s opera of the same name.
Hibla Gerzmava has toured with concert programmes in France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Spain, USA, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel and throughout Russia. She has sung at the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Sofia Opera, the Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, and made her Royal Opera House debut in Covent Garden in London in spring 2008, performing the part of Tatyana in the Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin. In October 2010 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Antonia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. The same year she sang in La Bohème production at the Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Rome Opera. At the Palais Garnier Hibla broke new ground as a Mozart singer being named one of the best Vitellias ever to perform this demanding vocal role (in The Mercy of Titus). In July 2011 Hibla performed at the opening of the BBC Proms with the BBC orchestra and choir under the baton of Jiří Belohlávek, singing the soprano part in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.
The singer stepped into the year of 2012 with yet another new part – as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni performed at the Covent Garden stage. In autumn Hibla returned to the Metropolitan Opera to perform the role of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot, with which she made her debut at the Mariinsky Theatre’s tour of NHK Hall in Tokyo in 2011, and for the first time performed on the stage of the Vienna Staatsoper in Mozart’s The Mercy of Titus.
In the 2015-2016 season she performed the parts of Liu (in Turandot by Giacomo Puccini), Desdemona (in Otello by Giuseppe Verdi), Donna Anna (in Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) at the Metropolitan Opera and made her debut at Carnegie Hall with a solo program of romances and arias.
In December 2016, Hibla debuted at the Bolshoi Theatre as Elisabeth of Valois in the opera Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi, and in 2017 she performed this role in French in a new production by Polish director Krzysztow Warlikowski at the Paris National Opera.
In 2017 she made her stage debut at the legendary Teatro alla Scala as Anne Boleyn in a new production of Donizetti’s opera of the same name.
In 2019 she performed the part of Desdemona at the Opéra National de Paris and debuted in a new production of the Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
In 2020, she performed the part of Amelia Grimaldi in the Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra at the Vienna State Opera. In the same year, she made a world anniversary tour with concerts in London, New York, Paris and Toronto.
In March 2021 Hibla Gerzmava made her opera debut with Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma at the Teatro Real in Madrid. In July she made her debut at the famous Arena di Verona at the annual opera festival, performing the soprano part in Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem. She also performed the same part in a series of concerts in Copenhagen under the direction of Fabio Luisi.
The oeuvre of People’s Artist of Russia Hibla Gerzmava is remarkably diverse. She is not afraid to take a risk and relishes experimentation. In love with jazz, Hibla continues her artistic quest in this style on the same stage with such musicians as Denis Matsuev, Deborah Brown (USA), Igor Butman, Andrei Ivanov, Arkady Shilkloper, Dmitry Sevastianov and Oleg Akkuratov. A virtuoso vocalist, Hibla Gerzmava appears on the major opera stages as well as captures the hearts from smaller stages throughout the world. For almost 30 years, together with her accompanist Ekaterina Ganelina, she has been acquainting audiences with the vocal works of great Russian and international composers. The world opera star has not shied away from the film world either, and in 2021 Hibla played the role of Diva in Renata Litvinova’s film The North Wind.