Simon Virsaladze

Born in Tbilisi, 31 Dec. 1908, died February 9, 1989.

Virsaladze studied at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi in 1926-1927, the All-Union Technical Arts Institute (VHUTEIN) in Moscow in 1928-1930, and Academy of Arts in Leningrad in 1930-31.

He began his career as a designer at the Theatre of Working Youth in Tbilisi in 1927 keeping to the style of constructivism, very popular then.

He soon became chief designer of the Paliashvili Theatre for Opera and Ballet in 1932-1936. Here, in that period and later, he designed G. Rossini's William Tell (1931), Z. Paliashvili's Daisi (1936), A. Balanchivadze's The Heart of the Hills (1936), Chopiniana to F. Chopin's music, A. Adan's Giselle (1942), L. Minkus' Don Quixote (1943), A. Machavariani's Othello (1957).

It was at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad that he started working with the famous ballet director Yuri Grigorovich (the choreographer many times referred to Simon Virsaladze as to his co-author). A man of enormous talent, culture, and erudition, S. Virsaladze created stage productions and costumes of astounding beauty and a subtle juxtaposition of colors. His works greatly influenced the subsequent development of the Soviet ballet.

The first Grigorovich-Virsaladze performances were S. Prokofiev's Stone Flower (1957) and A. Melikov's Legend of Love (1961)

In 1964, Virsaladze became the chief designer of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, and his cooperation with Grigorovich continued. Stone Flower (1959) and Legend of Love appeared on the Bolshoi Theatre stage.

Also, new stage productions were created:

P. Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty (1963, 1973)

Nutcracker (1966)

A. Khachaturyan's Spartacus(1968)

Yuri Grigorovich's ballets designed by Simon Virsaladze were staged abroad many times.